City A.M. Reporter
THE Dubai government has confirmed it will not sell any assets to help state-controlled Dubai World meet its debt repayments, while the company’s prize assets will be ring-fenced.<br /><br />The beleaguered conglomerate last week asked creditors for a six-month grace period while it restructured its $26bn (£15.5bn) debt pile. The payment standstill was announced on 25 November and applies to $3.5bn Islamic bonds maturing this month.<br /><br />The firm’s UK creditors include Standard Chartered, Lloyds and RBS.<br /><br />Abdulrahman al-Saleh, director general of Dubai’s finance department, said yesterday: “Part of obtaining finance is selling assets belonging to the company, not the government.”<br /><br />He added: “There is confusion in the media that the government plans to sell assets. The company has foreign investments and real estate investments abroad. There is nothing to prevent selling these assets.”<br /><br />The government has previously said it will support all businesses enjoying a sovereign guarantee. However,DubaiWorld, chaired by sultan bin Sulayen, does not have an explicit agreement with the state.<br /><br />Dubai World’s reorganisation will not touch parts of the business on a “stable financial footing”, the firm said, indicating its most valuable assets – private equity arm Istithmar World, DP World and Jebel Ali Freezone – will not be up for sale.<br /><br />Istithmar owns stakes in desirable asets such as US retailer Barneys and the luxury W Hotel in Washington.<br /><br />UAE economy minister sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri yesterday tried to allay investors’ fears, saying it was “a matter of time” before Dubai World’s debts were repaid.