Dubai Duty Free picks banks for $1.1bn loan deal

City A.M. Reporter
AIRPORT retailer Dubai Duty Free has mandated banks for a $1.1bn (£692m) multi-tranche loan facility to help fund the expansion of Dubai’s international airport, the company said in a statement yesterday.

Citibank along with Dubai Islamic, HSBC and Emirates NBD have been hired to arrange and coordinate the debut international transaction, the company said in an emailed statement.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank has already committed to contribute to the loan but will not be involved in arranging it.

Dubai Duty Free (DDF), which is owned by Investment Corporation of Dubai, said the facility includes Islamic and conventional tranches.

Dubai was looking to raise at least $500m by selling debt based on future revenues at DDF.

The city, which has clawed back from the depths of a crippling 2009 debt crisis, has been examining ways of raising finances to expand its existing aviation infrastructure after deciding to go slow on a $34bn new Al Maktoum Airport facility designed to become the biggest in the world.

Sales at Dubai Duty Free, which covers a sprawling 18,000 square metres of retail space at Dubai International Airport, rose 15.7 per cent to a whopping $1.46bn in 2011. The firm is among the biggest airport duty-free sellers in the world.

The operator, which sponsors high-profile sports events such as the Dubai tennis championship and is famous for lavish giveaways, has seen business boom on the back of sales of branded perfumes, watches and designer clothes.

Duty Free is expected to add an additional 8,000 square metres by the end of 2012.

“The purpose of the facilities is to optimise DDF’s capital structure in order to support the further development at Dubai International Airport,” DDF said in yesterday’s statement.