will employ $1.25 billion raised through an Islamic bond last week to fund the expansion of its airport and sees no risk to repaying creditors at its flagship conglomerate Dubai World on time, a top Dubai official told Reuters on Tuesday.
"We will use proceeds from the $1.25 billion sukuk to fund Dubai International Airport expansion," said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of the Dubai Airports, Chairman and Chief Executive of the Emirates Airline & Group.
"We (Dubai World) are committed to the plan set in 2010. Dubai World and its companies are making excellent revenues and we expect the debt to be paid on time. There's no need to extend debt when it falls due," said Sheikh Ahmed, who also heads the Supreme Fiscal Committee.
The emirate has seen revival in trade and tourism and its safe-haven status amid the Arab Spring popular revolts.
Dubai has long enjoyed its position as travel hub and rapidly expanded its Emirates airline.
The carrier, among the top 10 in the world by passenger numbers, and top customer of Airbus' A380 superjumbo, expects 2011 profits to be better than those in 2010 despite higher fuel costs, Sheikh Ahmed said. Fuel costs were about $2 billion last year, accounting for 40 to 43 percent of the airline's costs, he added.
The airline has a $500 million bond maturing in June.
"The Emirates cash reserve is good. It's excellent, I must say. We have Dh4 billion in cash so we are capable of paying off the debt in June...but we're still weighing options," the airline's chairman said.
Investors are closely watching two significant maturities in 2012 from state-linked firms, Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) and DIFC Investments, which have to repay a combined $3.25 billion this year.
The emirate's five-year credit default swaps, used to insure against a sovereign default, have narrowed more than 85 bps since the start of this year, to around 358 bps, according to Thomson Reuters data. That is far below the 650 basis points level hit in late 2009.