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Mon 21 May 2012 06:27 PM

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DIFC Investments close to $1bn loan deal

Sources says firm has almost completed deal to help repay Islamic bond due in June

DIFC Investments close to $1bn loan deal
Dubai Investments CEO and managing director Khalid Kalban

DIFC Investments, which owns properties in Dubai’s financial centre, has almost completed raising a $1bn loan to help repay an Islamic bond due in June, three bankers familiar with the matter said.

Standard Chartered, Emirates NBD, Dubai Islamic Bank and Noor Islamic Bank will lend DIFC Investments the money to enable it to pay the $1.25bn sukuk, the bankers said, declining to be identified because the information is private.

DIFC Investments has another $147.4m in liabilities maturing this year and will use its own cash and money raised from the planned sale of its Smartstream Technologies Group unit to repay the rest, one of the bankers said.

A deal is expected to be signed early next month before the sukuk matures on June 13, they said.

The spokesmen for DIFC Investments and Noor Islamic Bank weren’t available for comment, while spokesmen for Standard Chartered, Emirates NBD and Dubai Islamic declined to comment. They asked not to be identified because of company policies.

DIFC Investments said this month it was committed to repaying the sukuk based on several factors, including “sustainable revenue streams” and reaching a deal to defer certain debt owed to Dubai’s government.

Investors have been concerned about DIFC Investment’s ability to repay the sukuk due to its inability to sell assets.

DIFC opened in 2004 to attract international banks, asset managers and insurers and is home to the regional offices of Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Citigroup and Standard Chartered.

Property prices in Dubai, the second-biggest of seven emirates that make up the UAE, fell more than 65 percent from a peak in 2008 as the global credit crisis forced banks to cut mortgage lending and speculators left the market.

DIFC Investments posted profit from continuing operations of $185.4m last year after a loss of $285.9m in 2010, it said.

Revenue rose 8 percent to $157.5m and it booked a fair value gain of $180.8m on property compared with a fair value loss of $374.3m in the previous year.

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