No pressure for Dubai asset sales to meet debt due this year, Sheikh Ahmed says
Dubai is under no pressure to make asset sales this year and its flagship conglomerate Dubai World will sign a final agreement on its $25bn debt restructuring next week, a top official said.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai's Supreme Fiscal Committee and an uncle of the emirate's ruler, also said Dubai's core business was strong.
"There is no pressure on us for sale of Dubai World assets," he said. "We have a period of eight years. Always the question is asked, is an asset up for sale. Anything can be sold if the offer is good and tempting."
Dubai World plans to sell its prized assets over a period of eight years to generate as much as $19.4bn to pay off creditors.
"The final document will be signed a week from now," Sheikh Ahmed said on the sidelines of an event.
Sheikh Ahmed, who also runs state-owned Emirates airline, has spearheaded Dubai's efforts to dig out from a crippling crisis which erupted openly in 2009 after Dubai World said it would seek a debt standstill.
The glitzy Gulf Arab emirate needed a last-minute $10bn bailout from neighbour Abu Dhabi and has been busy restructuring key state-linked firms' debts.
Asked whether Dubai would inject more money into the Dubai Financial Support Fund - set up to support state-linked firms - Sheikh Ahmed said there is "no need for that now but Dubai always stand behind its companies."
He declined to comment on whether Emirates airlines would tap bond markets this year. But, speaking at a trade show in Berlin on Wednesday, the carrier's president said the airline had dropped bond plans due to regional unrest.
In December, Dubai's ruler appointed Sheikh Ahmed as chairman of Dubai World.