Banks pull out of $10bn debt talks

European institutions walk away from restructuring plans with Emirate-based investment fund

Feature image

The Royal Bank of Scotland, Commerzbank AG and Standard Bank Group have withdrawn from debt negotiations with the Dubai Group, a United Arab Emirates investment company in trouble. Talks have lasted 18 months without reaching a successful accord.

RBS was chairing the committee of banks that was working with the government-owned group to help restructure their mountain of debt. The group neared default on its $10bn debt in 2009 and is trying to restore investor confidence.

In April Dubai International Capital conceded to a change of terms on $2.5bn of Dubai Group’s debt and other groups have announced their commitment to the restructuring plans. The banks however, have stepped back after 18 months of talks have failed to come up with a successful resolution. RBS has also stepped down as co-chair of the committee that was leading the talks.

“This could be a negotiation tactic by the banks involved to get better terms from Dubai Group,” Fahd Iqbal, director of research at EFG Hermes said. “It’s unlikely that they’ll choose to pursue legal action given the lack of precedent in the United Arab Emirates.”

The emirate’s economy relies on trade and tourism for over a third of its GDP, so it benefitted from a 10 percent increase in foreign visitors last year.