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Thu 2 Feb 2012 01:23 PM

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Dubai’s Jafza, DIFC may need state help to pay debt

State-backed companies must meet a combined $3.25bn in debt obligations this year

Dubai’s Jafza, DIFC may need state help to pay debt
Dubai still faces a massive debt burden with some $15bn maturing in 2012

Jebel Ali Free Zone, a business park owned by Dubai World, and DIFC Investments may need government help to meet a combined $3.25bn in debt obligations due this year, Exotix said.

DIFC Investments may require as much as $983m from the government to repay its $1.25bn bond maturing in June, the investment bank said in an emailed report Thursday.

“We believe that this government support will be forthcoming and that DIFC has options to alleviate this large funding gap.”

Jebel Ali Free Zone may have a $400m funding gap after a “successful bank debt refinancing,” which would need to “be plugged by either the government or with parent Economic Zones World’s potential sale of Gazeley,” according to the report. “We also do not rule out a soft restructuring scenario for Jebel Ali Free Zone.”

Jebel Ali Free Zone, which must repay AED7.5bn ($2bn) when its Islamic bond comes due in November, has commenced work on “liability management” and is exploring various refinancing options, the company said last year. DIFC Investments, which owns and manages properties in the Dubai International Financial Centre, had planned to raise $1bn from asset sales by the end of last year to help pay debt.

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