Dubai debt plan to fuel stocks

City A.M. Reporter
DUBAI’S debt restructuring proposal will determine the fate of UAE equity markets as the ailing emirate seeks support from Abu Dhabi, with markets poised to rally if the deal includes guarantees, analysts said.

Dubai’s index has been resurgent, gaining 12.8 per cent in 12 trading days, as investors bet a restructuring deal would be more favourable to creditors than once thought, but it is down 15.2 per cent since 25 November, the day Dubai World said it would seek a debt standstill.

The government conglomerate is trying to restructure about $26bn (£17.3bn) in debt. Dubai’s total debt pile is estimated at around $100bn.

“It all depends on what the restructuring entails – if Dubai World offers a seven-year rollover and full repayment, then this is already discounted in the market, but if there’s a government guarantee the market will fly,” said Haissam Arabi at Gulfmena Alternative Investments. “If the offer is as expected, then banks won’t have to increase provisions and so bank stocks like Emirates NBD and the Abu Dhabi lenders should pick up.”

Emirates NBD and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank are the two domestic lenders on a Dubai World creditors committee, with both stocks on the rise after slumping to multi-year lows in late January.