Sunday, November 29, 2009

FACTBOX on Dubai crisis:

Who is who in Dubai corporate map?

Dubai, the member of the United Arab Emirates federation in deep financial straits, is struggling to meet debt obligations of up to $80 billion.

On Wednesday, the government said it will ask creditors of its flagship firms Dubai World and property group Nakheel for a debt standstill as it restructures the Dubai World group.

Who runs Dubai?

Each of the seven emirates is run by its own ruling family, many of whose members have substantial business interests. Dubai is ruled by the Al Maktoum family. The line between personal property of rulers and Dubai "state" ownership is blurred.

What are Dubai's main companies?

Dubai government owns three major corporate entities, Dubai Holding, run by Mohammed Al Gergawi; Dubai World, run by Sultan bin Sulayem; and the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD).

Last week Dubai's ruler reshuffled the board of ICD, which manages his wealth, bringing in two of his sons as directors and removing Gergawi and Mohamed Alabbar, chief of Emaar Properties.

Which major firms do they own?

Dubai World, Sheikh Mohammed bi Rashid al-Maktoum's investment vehicle, includes shipping giant DP World and developer Nakheel, which is behind the famous man-made palm-shaped islands which came to define Dubai in the minds of many around the world during the boom years.

Dubai Holding includes property developers Sama Dubai, Dubai Properties and Tatweer, which are all being merged with Alabbar's Emaar - part of ICD.

ICD also includes key entities involved in running the emirate, such as the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority and the Road and Transport Authority, as well as Dubai Aluminum (Dubal) and the flagship airline group Emirates.

Dubai world can't meet debt obligations?

Most of Dubai's debts, which have been exposed by the financial crisis, have arisen through Dubai World.

Wednesday's announcement came about because the conglomerate wanted to delay repayment of a $3.5 billion sukuk bond due on December 14.

What has Abu Dhabi done?

Abu Dhabi, ruled by the Al Nahayan family, has not stepped in to directly bail out Dubai, which would carry direct political implications for Dubai's freedom of maneuver as a maverick member of the UAE.

Dubai, for example, maintains wide trade links with Iran despite ongoing tensions between the UAE and the Islamic Republic over a territorial row and Iran's nuclear plans.

A more influential Abu Duabi might want to curb such ties. The federal central bank, based in Abu Dhabi, has bought $10 billion from a $20 billion bond program announced by the Dubai government earlier this year.

On Wednesday two Abu Dhabi banks bought another $5 billion worth of the bonds.

What about Abu Dhabi's finances?

Abu Dhabi is where most of the UAE's oil is located.

The UAE, with a population of less than 5 million, is the world's third largest oil exporter and has the world's largest sovereign wealth fund, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

Its assets are thought to be worth around $500-$700 billion.

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