An investment company controlled by Dubai's ruler said Thursday it is seeking a three-month extension on repaying some of its debt, raising new concerns about the depth of the city-state's credit woes.
Dubai International Capital said in a two-paragraph statement that it and a coordinating committee of some of its banks have asked lenders for an extension "of certain maturities" until Sept. 30.
"The extension period would allow the implementation of a consensual longer term plan that would enable DIC to maximize the value of its business for the benefit of all its stakeholders," the company said.
DIC did not provide details of the debt involved. It has a $1.25 billion loan coming due in June.
A spokeswoman for DIC declined to comment further.
The announcement, released at the end of the local work week, came a seven days after another indebted government-linked company, Dubai World, said it had won support for its $23.5 billion restructuring plan from leading lenders. Dubai officials have since outlined the need for further financial reforms.
DIC is part of a holding company owned directly by Dubai's ruler, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. A spokesman for the parent company, Dubai Holding, said it had no comment.
DIC's holdings include British hotel chain Travelodge, medical imaging equipment maker Alliance Medical and precision engineering company Doncasters Group. It also has stakes in Sony Corp. and Airbus parent company EADS NV, according to its website.
The firm made a bid for English Premier League club Liverpool in 2008, but that offer was rebuffed by the team's squabbling owners.
In February, Merlin Entertainments confirmed that DIC slashed its stake in the amusement park operator to 6 percent from 17 percent last summer. The value of that sale was not disclosed.
Unlike state-owned Dubai World, the debt-laden conglomerate at the heart of Dubai's debt problems, Dubai Holding and subsidiaries such as DIC are considered the personal property of Dubai's hereditary ruler.
The line between what is government property and what is owned by the ruler's family is not always clear. That has prompted calls for greater transparency, particularly from lenders and credit rating agencies.
Rachel Ziemba, an analyst at Roubini Global Economics who monitors Gulf economies, said DIC, like Dubai World, borrowed heavily against its holdings to fund additional purchases. That made it vulnerable when credit became harder to come by.
"Their business has faced challenges for some time," she said. "This is a sign that even though Dubai World's creditors have signed on to its restructuring plan, there's more restructuring of (Dubai) debt to come."
The International Monetary Fund estimates the emirate of Dubai is shouldering as much as $109 billion in debt spread among government accounts and numerous state-linked companies.