Al Jaber Group's CFO resigns amid debt talks - sources

Richard Hollands leaves the Abu Dhabi conglomerate in the midst of a $4.5 billion debt restructuring
UAE dirhams
By Reuters
Wed 10 Apr 2013 10:18 PM

The chief financial officer of Abu Dhabi conglomerate Al Jaber Group, which is in the midst of a $4.5 billion debt restructuring, has resigned, two sources aware of the matter told reporters on Wednesday.

Richard Hollands, who joined Al Jaber in November 2011 from an Emirates airline unit, will work a notice period before leaving the firm, the sources added, declining to be identified as the matter is not public.

Al Jaber is one of the most prominent private sector firms in Abu Dhabi, with operations in construction, aviation and retail among others, but got into financial trouble in 2011 and appointed a five-bank creditor committee to negotiate a restructuring.

Like many family-owned groups in the Gulf, Al Jaber looked to expand beyond its core business - in Al Jaber's case, construction - but was then dragged down by poor performance in these new fields, the weight of debt raised to achieve the expansion and a slowdown in the local construction sector.

A spokesman for Al Jaber Group declined to comment.

No replacement for Hollands has been appointed, one of the sources said.

The resignation is unlikely to impact the debt talks, which have been ongoing for more than two years and which saw a preliminary agreement reached last month, one of the sources said.

"It's not a good thing for the business as he was heavily involved in the turnaround plan but the restructuring should be fine," the source said.

Al Jaber's credit committee is chaired by National Bank of Abu Dhabi and includes Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank , HSBC Holdings, RBS and Union National Bank.

As part of the restructuring process, the firm has been bringing in outside talent to fill senior management positions. Hollands was the first of these appointments, while David Nelson was named chief executive of the group about six months back, the second source said.

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