By Staff writer
QE2 owner Istithmar World to operate with ‘skeleton staff’ as asset sales continue
Istithmar World, the investment arm of Dubai World and owner of the Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise ship, has laid off 15 of its employees and will now operate with ‘skeleton staff’, according to a report.
The Financial Times reported that the investment firm will continue as a corporate entity but negotiations over the sale of its assets will be handled by other Dubai government entities.
Istithmar had been at the centre of Dubai World’s financial crisis in 2009, when its parent company asked to restructure $25 billion of debts built up by the conglomerate during a boom period in the mid-2000s, where they invested in assets ranging from hospitality to logistics.
The firm was part of an agreement to restructure Dubai World’s repayment of $14.6 billion in debt to 2022 last year.
Istithmar’s investment portfolio had spanned consumer, industrial and financial services, hotels and commercial property sectors. Among its assets were the Atlantis resort in Dubai, entertainment group Cirque du Soleil, and the Mandarin Oriental hotel in New York.
It retains stakes in investment bank Perella Weinberg and US retailer Barneys, as well as the QE2, which remains moored in Dubai after attempts to find a purchaser for the famous ship failed.
The Financial Times reported that Istithmar’s remaining assets were proving difficult to sell.
“This is the final stage of a multiyear run off, and while these last assets will take time to unwind — you don’t need a huge infrastructure to do so,” the newspaper quoted a senior banker as saying.