Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Dana Gas Restructuring: Friendly Fire - Sharjah and the UAE

DG has placed the courts of Sharjah in a difficult place.  But the uncomfortable situation won’t stop there. Creditors are almost certain to appeal any Sharjah ruling in favor of DG in UAE Federal courts. 

The Sharjah courts are in a proverbial “pickle”.  The Sharjah ruler is Honorary Chairman of DG.  His son sits on the Board.  DG is also a “home-town” company.    

Do they rule with these considerations in mind?  Or do they rule in view of the impact on the UAE, “Islamic” finance?  Or do they rule in DG’s favor and kick the can to the Federal level?

Hard to tell.  Perhaps, though, there’s an indication:  the 25 December date for the hearing on the injunction granted earlier this month. 

AA would think that a highly visible case involving a USD 700 million restructuring and touching on the fundamental validity of “Islamic” finance would warrant a higher priority waiting six months. 

Perhaps, Sharjah Courts are occupied with even larger and more significant cases.  Who would have thought?  Not AA.

If local courts including the Federal Courts uphold DG’s assertion, the reputation of these courts and the UAE’s system of law will suffer, though as an Emirati banker once said to AA.  “By creating the DIFC and the DFSA the Government of Dubai have expressed their opinion on the state of our onshore laws and courts.” 

An assessment shared as well by other parties, I might note.  I'd end by noting that DG is not the only UAE entity to have issued Murabaha based Sukuk

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