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UAE's Dana Gas may seek to restructure Islamic bonds - sources

UAE's Dana Gas building in Cairo.

UAE's Dana Gas building in Cairo.

REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany


By Davide Barbuscia and Tom Arnold

DUBAI, April 27 (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi-listed energy firm Dana Gas may seek to restructure about $700 million in Islamic bonds, or sukuk, according to minutes of the company's annual general assembly and sources following the issue.

The firm has faced a cash shortage after failing to receive payments from investments in Egypt and Kurdistan, which put pressure on prices of its sukuk.

In February, Chief Financial Officer Chris Hearne said Dana was due $1 billion and the firm would need a "solution for the sukuk that properly balances the interest of all stakeholders" until the money was received.

Dana defaulted on a sukuk in 2012. In that case, the technical default was followed by a standstill agreement with bondholders before talks with creditors led to a consensual restructuring.

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Minutes of Dana's general assembly meeting on April 13 quoted executives saying Dana would work for an agreement similar to the standstill one in 2012 for the outstanding sukuk, worth a total $700 million, that are due to mature in October.

The minutes did not mention any restructuring, but creditors and other sources familiar with the issue told Reuters a restructuring now seemed the most likely scenario.

"There will be a restructuring. The point now is how aggressive the terms will be," said one Dubai-based bondholder, who asked not to be identified.

Dana officials declined to comment. The firm said this month it had considered a report on sukuk restructuring.

The company could propose a combination of actions, including extending the maturity of one or both of its sukuk, in addition to refinancing a portion of the debt, creditors said.

One source said the company had held informal discussions with restructuring advisers but had not mandated any firm, nor had it sent a request for proposals from an adviser.

The source added that an appointment with an adviser was likely to take place before the beginning of Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month that starts near the end of May.

"We are, despite this, still believers in the company story, especially on the equity side. But in the meantime it is under a lot of liquidity pressure, squeezed from Egypt and Kurdistan. But it's a liquidity issue, not a solvency issue, we still believe that," said the bondholder in Dubai.

"We think payments from Egypt will come, but meanwhile we see some downside in the medium term and a lot of uncertainty."

The price of Dana's convertible sukuk issued in May 2013 with a 7 percent profit rate has been unchanged at 86 cents on the dollar since mid-March, Thomson Reuters data show. "It went completely illiquid," one creditor said.

The other bond, with a 9 percent profit rate, has shed value over the past weeks and was bid at 87 cents on Thursday from a bid price of about 90.50 cents last week.



(Editing by Edmund Blair) ((Davide.Barbuscia@thomsonreuters.com;))





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