Dubai’s Drydocks World edges closer to restructuring approval

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By David French / Reuters

DUBAI: Drydocks World, which is testing a form of insolvency protection drawn up in response to Dubai’s 2009 debt crisis, has 87 percent of creditors signed up to its proposed restructuring plan, an external advisor said on Tuesday.

But one hedge fund, US based Monarch Alternative Capital, which won a $45.5 million legal claim against Drydocks in March for defaulting on a loan, is unlikely to accept the plan, Ian Schneider of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said.

“I remain skeptical that Monarch will agree to the deal,” Schneider told reporters.

The shipbuilder, a unit of conglomerate Dubai World , is using a special tribunal to force recalcitrant creditors to sign up to its $2.2 billion debt plan after some, including hedge funds, resisted the deal.

The tribunal process, created under Decree 57 issued by Dubai’s ruler, requires 100 percent consent from creditors for a plan to be adopted.

But there is a cramdown option which can force dissenters to accept the plan once creditors holding 75 percent of the debt agree to it – a level Drydocks had reached before it began legal proceedings.

Twelve out of the 19 creditors have accepted the plan and that figure is expected to rise to creditors holding 94 percent of the debt within a week. Of the holdouts, five each hold less than 0.1 percent of the debt, Schneider said.

The process to agree the restructuring could be completed by early July, Schneider said. The plan extends the maturity of some of the debt for a further five years, Drydocks’ Chairman, Khamis Juma Buamim, told reporters last month.

Decree 57 is a law issued by Dubai’s ruler in 2009 which created a special tribunal for Dubai World and its subsidiaries to deal with any litigation related to debt restructurings.

The Drydocks move is the first real test of the tribunal which has so far only handled smaller claims but not faced a restructuring disagreement.

Companies using Decree 57 must appoint three nominees to supervise the legal process and ensure the company is adhering to the plan. Drydocks’s nominees are Schneider and two other PwC partners, Tony Lomas and Steven Pearson.

Bookrunners on the 15-lender syndicate were BNP Paribas , HSBC Mashreq, Standard Chartered and Lloyds TSB Bank among others.



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