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Dubai World Set to Restructure About $26 Billion of Total Debt

CNBC.com with wires
Monday, 30 Nov 2009 | 4:25 PM ET

Dubai World said it would try to restructure about $26 billion of debt, far less than the nearly $60 billion in total liabilities that the Dubai government's investment arm had as of August.

In a press release, Dubai World said that of the $26 billion in debt, $6 billion relates to the company's property unit, Nakheel.

Dubai World triggered a world-wide stock market selloff last week after announcing that it may delay payment on billions of dollars of debt. The news sparked worries that Dubai World could default on its entire $60 billion in debt and trigger a new global credit crisis.

Dubai World's statement late Monday that only $26 billion would be subject to restructuring helped cause a turnaround in US markets just before the close of trading. Global markets already had begun to recover as worries about Dubai's debt problems eased.

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Earlier Monday, however, the Dubai government rattled markets by saying it wasn't responsible for the debts of Dubai World. Dubai World, whose slogan is "The sun never sets on Dubai World," represents most of Dubai's total debt of $80 billion.

"Creditors need to take part of the responsibility for their decision to lend to the companies," said Abdulrahman al-Saleh, director general of Dubai's Department of Finance. "They think Dubai World is part of the government, which is not correct."

Dubai's debt problems are a hangover from a property bubble that imploded after the financial crisis derailed its plans to become a magnet for tourists and a regional hub for everything from shipping to entertainment. Among Dubai World's major projects is the world's tallest building and palm-shaped housing developments in the Persian Gulf.

In its statement, Dubai World said it plans to restructure the debt of subsidiaries Nakheel and Limitless World. The process would not include its other entities, Infinity World Holding, Istithmar World and Ports & Free Zone World, which the company said are on stable footing.

"It is envisaged the restructuring process will be carried out in an equitable way for the overall benefit of all stakeholders and will comprise several phases," the company said.

Among these phases include determining areas of maintainable profit and cash generation, asset sales, and the assesment of funding requirements, the company said.

Nakheel earlier on Monday asked for three of its Islamic bonds, worth a total of $5.25 billion, to be suspended on Nasdaq Dubai until it was in a position to "fully inform the market."

Reuters contributed to this report

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