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Sun 26 Apr 2009 03:02 PM

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Dubai considers two dates for $10bn bond sale

Five-member Dubai government committee plans to issue bonds before end of year.

Dubai is considering two dates this year to issue another $10bn of bonds, a government executive said on Sunday, as the emirate seeks to raise more funds to support state-linked companies.Dubai launched a $20bn bond programme in February and issued the first half to the UAE central bank.

It has since given more than $5bn in loans to firms struggling to meet debt and other financial obligations amid a real estate downturn, Nasser Al Shaikh, Dubai Department of Finance director-general, said in a radio interview last week.

Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saaed Al Maktoum, the head of a five-member Dubai government committee responsible for disbursing the funds, said on Sunday the government was deciding between a "couple of dates" for a second bond sale, both before the end of the year.

Last week, Shaikh had said Dubai would not reveal the names of the firms receiving support from the first bond proceeds, although the key beneficiaries were real estate companies in which the Dubai government holds some ownership stake.

Asked which companies had received state loans, Sheikh Ahmed, also chairman of Emirates airline, told reporters: "If I was to name them all we would be here for hours and I wouldn't want to name a few and forget others."Residential real estate prices in Dubai are set to fall almost 40 percent this year, a Reuters poll showed last month.

Dubai, one of seven emirates in the UAE federation, derives only about 3 percent of its GDP from oil, and has faced pressure from depressed tourist visits, retail sales and trade flows.

The global financial crisis and a collapse in oil prices brought an end to the Gulf region's six-year economic boom, leading to scores of expansion project cancellations and thousands of job cuts. (Reuters)