Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Kuwaiti Firm Global Plans $433 Million Debt-For-Equity Swap
Mon., August 13, 2012
Global Investment House, the Kuwaiti investment firm undergoing its second debt restructuring in three years, will seek shareholders approval for a debt-for-equity swap which if approved will see creditors own 70 percent of the company, Reuters reported. The proposed plan, which will see the remaining debt met by assets transferred to the creditors, would be a rare example of debt-for-equity being used in a Gulf Arab restructuring. Like a number of Kuwaiti investment firms, Global's business and its investment portfolio were hit hard by the financial crisis, with real estate and stock valuations plummeting and investor confidence drained as a result. Under the proposal, to be put to shareholders at a September 2 meeting, Global will offer 122.2 million dinars ($432.9 million) of new shares to creditors, it said in a statement posted on the Dubai stock exchange. The outstanding debt amount not met by the swap will be covered by the transfer of assets from Global to a special purpose vehicle which will be controlled by creditors. While debt-for-equity is a common tool in the West, it has not found favour in the Middle East as both local and international banks have been reluctant to take stakes in local companies; instead, most deals have involved extending the maturity of debt to allow for companies to sell assets once values have recovered.