UPDATE 1-Dana Gas shareholder optimistic on $920 mln Islamic bond

Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:17am BST

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DUBAI, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Crescent Petroleum, a key shareholder in Dana Gas, is optimistic that the Sharjah-based natural gas producer can reach a "comfortable resolution" on its $920 million Islamic bond maturing in October, Crescent's president said on Tuesday.

Abu Dhabi-listed Dana is also in talks with the Egyptian government to recover delayed receivables from its operations in the North African country, Badr Jafar, Crescent's president, told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Dubai.

"As a shareholder... I believe there are discussions ongoing with the ministry for scheduled payments to recover the receivables," Jafar told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Dubai.

"I'm optimistic and have a lot of faith in the professionalism and savvy of the management and board to reach a comfortable resolution with the bondholders and investors alike," he added.

Dana started facing problems last year after anti-government protests in countries such as Egypt led to payment delays from government entities. It has also faced payment issues in Iraq's Kurdistan region.

The company was owed 729 million dirhams ($198.5 million) in Egypt as at June 30, 2012, according to its half-year results. They received 431 million dirhams from Egypt during the first six months of the year.

Crescent is the largest share holder in Dana with a stake of 20.1 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Dana, which owns a 3-percent stake in Hungarian group MOL , has so far provided no details on how it plans to meet the upcoming Islamic bond maturity.

The natural gas producer had appointed Blackstone Group and Deutsche Bank as advisers to help it weigh options for the sukuk and said it was committed to finding a consensual solution.

It had cash balance of 601 million dirhams as of June 30, 2012, it said in August. Dana shares were trading flat at 41 fils on the Abu Dhabi bourse at 0915 GMT. They have fallen 11 percent year-to-date. ($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirhams) (Reporting by Daniel Fineren, Writing by Mirna Sleiman, Editing by Dinesh Nair)

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