Abu Dhabi’s Al Jaber Group expects to reach a deal with creditor banks to restructure more than $1bn in debt before the end of the year, the company’s COO said Wednesday.
The privately-held firm set up a banks' committee earlier this year to thrash out a debt deal after it announced talks with lenders to discuss the terms of its facilities.
“We are not restructuring, we are just rescheduling some existing debts,” Fatima Al Jaber told Arabian Business on the sidelines of the Leaders in Construction Summit in Dubai.
“No, [we have not reached any agreement yet]. I would like to do it tomorrow, [but] I think by the end of the year.”
Al Jaber has $840m in two syndicated facilities outstanding as well as bilateral loans. A $440m five-year term syndicated loan was due to mature in September and a $400m ijara facility expires in April 2013.
The company was also thought to have significant exposure to indebted state-owned developer Nakheel, which is seeking to restructure around $16.1bn of liabilities, including about $5.17bn to trade creditors.
The restructuring was “a consequence of a lot of things”, Al Jaber said, including late payments from its own debtors.
The firm hopes to have “good news” for the business all round by the end of 2011, she said.
Al Jaber was one of dozens of firms that bore the brunt of Dubai’s real estate collapse in 2008.
Home prices in the emirate fell by more than 60 percent during the period and more than half of projects were cancelled, leaving developers scrabbling for cash as project finance dried up.
Arabtec Holding, the UAE’s largest builder by market value, said this month that it has yet to receive 60 percent of money owed for projects completed before the onset of the credit crisis.