UPDATE 1-Bahrain's GFH in talks with lenders of $100 mln loan
* Confirms talks with lenders on $100 mln loan
* A $50 mln tranche matures March 3, according to S&P
* Appoints LMC to advise on talks
(Adds details, background)
MANAMA, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House GFHB.BH (GFHK.KW) said on Saturday it is in talks with lenders of a $100 million loan, half of which matures in March 2010.
"This initiative continues the work of the management team at GFH to smooth out its liquidity profile to position it for growth," it said in a statement without detailing what its talks with lenders are aiming at.
GFH escaped default on a $300 million loan maturing last week, by reaching an eleventh-hour deal with lenders to roll over one third of the loan by six months. [ID:nLDE6190SB]
The Islamic investment house said it had appointed Bahrain's Liquidity Management Centre (LMC) to advise on its negotiations with lenders that it described as four major Islamic banks from the Gulf Arab region.
Standard & Poor's in a note published this week said the first tranche is maturing March 3 and the remainder twelve months later. GFH's acting CEO Ted Pretty had told Reuters earlier this month that the facility was under negotiations.
One of the Bahraini investment houses badly hit by the 2008 end to a regional property boom, analysts and bankers have said that GFH needs to sell down assets to avoid further funding difficulties.
The sector mostly relied on earning fees from raising investor money for real estate and private equity projects, a market which has collapsed during the financial crisis.
(For an analysis on the situation at GFH and the industry, please click on [ID:nLDE6180BM])
(Click on [ID:nISLAMIC] for more Islamic finance stories and ISLAMIC for a speed guide)
(Reporting by Frederik Richter; Editing by Jason Benham)
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