A Middle East Financial Crisis Is In The Making

A Dubai-based operator of ports and terminals around the world is returning to full state ownership with a proposed transaction and a subsequent delisting from Nasdaq Dubai.PauseUnmuteLoaded: 70.04%Remaining Time -1:32Picture-in-PictureFullscreen

This could be one of the latest signs that the oil-rich countries in the Middle East are still struggling to shore up budgets and finances in the aftermath of the 2014 oil price crash.

Under the proposed deal, global ports operator DP World will be delisted from Nasdaq Dubai after Port & Free Zone World (PFZW), a subsidiary of state-controlled Dubai World, buys nearly 20 percent of DP World’s shares it does not already own. DP World will become indirectly fully owned by the government of Dubai and will help the emirate’s investment vehicle Dubai World to repay some borrowings to its lenders.

“In the context of the planned delisting of DP World, a payment of US$5.15 billion is required from PFZW to Dubai World to assist Dubai World in discharging its outstanding obligations to its commercial bank lenders, so that DP World can implement its strategy without any restrictions from Dubai World’s creditors,” DP World said on Monday.

DP World’s Debt Will Grow in the Short Term

While the company wants to free itself from the shackles of demanding public markets, it will take on a lot of debt in the transaction in the short term, which prompted rating agencies Moody’s and Fitch Ratings to place DP World’s ratings under review for possible downgrades.

“The transaction will weaken the overall credit profile of DP World”, said Dion Bate, a Moody’s Vice President – Senior Analyst and local market analyst for DP World.

As per Fitch, DP World is the world’s fifth-largest container port operator by gross throughput, operating directly or via joint ventures, a portfolio of over 150 operations in more than 45 countries.

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