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Dubai's Meraas eyes $234 mln loan for Ferris wheel scheme - sources
February 12, 2015 / 3:57 PM / 3 years ago

Dubai's Meraas eyes $234 mln loan for Ferris wheel scheme - sources

DUBAI, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Meraas Holding, a Dubai state-owned property firm, is seeking a 860 million-dirham ($234 million) loan to fund the development of retail space around what will be the world’s largest Ferris wheel, two banking sources aware of the matter said on Thursday.

The firm, owned by Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, is developing some of the emirate’s most ambitious real estate projects, including a 210-metre tall Ferris wheel on a manmade island off the coast of Dubai.

Once completed, the Ferris wheel will overtake the new High Roller in Las Vegas, standing at 167.6 metres, as the world’s tallest such attraction.

The area around the Ferris wheel will have restaurants, shops and residential buildings, according to the company’s plans. This loan will help finance the construction of the surrounding retail area, the sources said.

Meraas didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment outside of normal business hours.

The loan is being arranged by Emirates NBD, Dubai’s largest lender, and will have a 10-year term and an amortising structure, according to one of the sources, a Dubai-based banker.

The interest rate the loan carries is between 3.5 percent and 4 percent over the Emirates interbank offered rate (Eibor), with the deal expected to be completed around the middle of March, the banker added.

Meraas has been actively fundraising from multiple sources to help secure the finance it needs up-front to build its numerous projects.

In December, it listed its Dubai Parks and Resorts unit in a 2.5 billion-dirham share sale. The unit is developing an entertainment scheme which will house five theme parks, including the first outside North America by Six Flags Entertainment Corp.

It also raised a $1.15 billion loan from a group of banks including Goldman Sachs and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank in November. ($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirhams) (Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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