StanChart, Emirates NBD said to plan US$900m DIFC loan

3 banks in frame to lend money for DIFC repayment of US$1.25bn sukuk

Dubai International Financial Centre

Dubai International Financial Centre

Standard Chartered, Emirates NBD and Noor Islamic Bank are among banks that may lend Dubai’s DIFC Investments US$900m to help it pay an Islamic bond, according to two bankers familiar with the deal.

The three banks are the front-runners for the transaction that will enable the company, the owner of properties in the tax-free Dubai International Financial Centre, to pay its US$1.25bn sukuk maturing in June, the bankers said, declining to be identified because the information is private.

Another two banks may join the lenders’ group, although no mandate has been awarded yet, they said.

DIFC Investments sold the floating rate sukuk in 2007, which was managed by Goldman Sachs Group and Deutsche Bank AG, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Islamic bonds have risen 3.9 percent so far this year to 96.76 cents to the dollar at 4:04 pm in Dubai.

The company had planned to raise US$1bn from asset sales by the end of last year to help pay debt.

Spokesmen for DIFC Investments and Noor Islamic Bank couldn’t immediately be reached for a comment. Spokesmen for Emirates NBD and Standard Chartered, who didn’t wish to be identified because of company policy, declined to comment.

Dubai government-controlled DIFC Investments owns and operates office buildings in the Dubai International Financial Centre, which is home to the regional offices of banks including Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and Standard Chartered.

The company reported a loss of US$274.7m in 2010 as it wrote down the value of its properties after prices slumped.

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