Dana Gas close to a deal on $700m sukuk dispute, say sources

The Sharjah-headquartered company shocked the Islamic finance world by declaring its sukuk issuance un-Islamic a year ago

Dana Gas' sukuk holders include US asset managers Black Rock and Goldman Sachs Group. Jaime Puebla / The National
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Dana Gas has reached an agreement with key holders of $700m of its Islamic bonds to restructure the securities, two people with knowledge of the matter said, possibly ending a legal battle that has unnerved the Islamic finance industry.

A committee representing sukukholders, which include BlackRock and Goldman Sachs Group agreed to accept an immediate cash payout of 20 cents to the dollar and to roll the rest into a three-year security, said the people, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t public. A spokesman for the Sharjah, United Arab Emirates-based energy company said it won’t comment on rumours or speculation.

Here are more details of the agreement:

  • The new security will pay an annual coupon of 4 per cent
  • Bondholders agreed to remove the convertible option in the securities
  • Dana Gas said it would pay a further 20 percent of the sukuk after two years and will raise the coupon to 6 percent if it fails to do so
  • The majority of sukukholders have agreed to the terms

The agreement potentially ends a debt saga that started a year ago, when the company first announced it would restructure the notes due to delays in gas payments from Egypt and Iraq’s Kurdish region. A month later, the company said it no longer considered its two $350 million mudaraba sukuk to be compliant with Islamic law and proposed replacing them with new securities that yield less than half the average current profit rate of 8 per cent.

It then retracted that offer, opting to go to court instead, and didn’t settle the sukuk when they matured in October. The company had a string of rulings against it in the UK, while the British and UAE courts have announced conflicting judgments on its planned dividend payments.

Investment bank Houlihan Lokey is advising Dana Gas and Moelis & Co is the consultant to the committee of sukukholders.


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