Dubai World: timeline of a debt crisis

Arabian Business looks at the long sequence of events which shook markets around the world.

Bankers gathered in Dubai on Wednesday to hammer out a $26 billion debt plan with state-owned Dubai World as a repayment deadline loomed, adding to pressure on the glitzy emirate to settle the conglomerate's debt.This comes after a long sequence of events which shook markets around the world, and threw the emirate's future into uncertainty.


As property prices peak in the emirate, Dubai government issues a $4bn dirham-based bond programme. Analysts predict the move will likely spark a boom in the market with local businesses shunning riskier dollar-based debt.

In November, the Atlantis Hotel and Resort opens with a lavish launch party estimated to have cost more than $20m. It is the flagship hotel on Nakheel’s Palm Jumeirah island, and Dubai makes headlines all over the world.


FEBRUARY – In a move which eases default concerns, Dubai launches a $20bn bond scheme, and the UAE central bank immediately subscribes to $10bn.

APRIL - Dubai hires investment bank Rothschild to advise on a $20bn support fund to help indebted companies.

SEPTEMBER - Dubai World announces talks with core banks to reschedule $12bn of debt. Meanwhile, Nakheel's overseas hotels and properties are transferred to Istithmar World, Dubai World's private equity unit.

OCTOBER – Dubai World announces its restructuring programme will save $800m over three years. The plan involves cutting the group’s global workforce by around 15 percent.


25 - National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Al Hilal Bank announce they have agreed to buy as much as $2.5bn each of Dubai government bonds. On the eve of the Eid Al Adha public holiday, the Dubai government says Dubai World is to request a six-month standstill.

26 - Dubai government says DP World, the fourth largest ports operator on the planet, will be excluded from Dubai World restructuring.


14 – After Abu Dhabi’s last-minute provision of a $5bn rescue package, Dubai pays Nakheel's $4.1bn bond in full.

21 - Creditors meet with Dubai World for the first time after the standstill announcement, and form a coordinating committee.



The CEO of Istithmar World, David Jackson, resigns amid a management reshuffle.


25 – Dubai World restructuring plan outlined by Sheikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of the Dubai Supreme Fiscal Committee.


May 13 - $980m Nakheel sukuk repayment due.

June - Dubai World $2.1bn loan matures.

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