Abraaj Group files application for court-supervised restructuring

Move comes as company looks to satisfy creditors

Our Correspondent June 15, 2018
In the statement, Arif Naqvi, The Abraaj Group founder, said the process marks the culmination of an extremely complex and challenging phase of negotiations and detailed planning PHOTO: REUTERS

KARACHI: The Board of Abraaj Holdings Limited has announced that the company has filed an application in the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands, seeking the appointment of Simon Conway of PwC Corporate Finance and Recovery (Cayman) Limited and Michael Jervis and Mo Farzadi of PricewaterhouseCoopers, as joint provisional liquidators, according to a statement issued on Thursday.

The move comes as the company looks to protect the rights of stakeholders while pursuing a consensual restructuring of the obligations.

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Earlier this month, it was reported that Abraaj faces a liquidation case filed by a Kuwaiti pension fund in the Cayman Islands.

The Kuwait Public Institution for Social Security (PIFSS) said it filed a petition in the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands for the liquidation and winding up of Abraaj Holdings. The pension fund published a legal notice in the United Arab Emirates’ daily The National.

PIFSS said the decision to file the petition came following default on a $100-million loan it had given to Abraaj Holdings, which was due on June 3.

However, the appointment of provisional liquidators imposes a moratorium on the enforcement of all unsecured claims against the company, allowing time for a proposal to be put to creditors for the orderly restructuring. The company has filed its application in the Cayman Islands, being the jurisdiction of incorporation for it and many of its subsidiaries and affiliates.

The application has been made with the support of, amongst others, the company’s secured creditors who have reiterated their desire for provisional liquidators to be appointed to work alongside Abraaj Holdings to formulate and implement a restructuring of the liabilities.

“This is a defining moment for everyone associated with Abraaj,” said Sean M. Cleary, chairman of the Board of Abraaj Holdings in a statement. “Under the auspices of the Court, the situation has now been stabilised, and we can move forward to meet the firm’s commitments and restore confidence in the platform.”

In the statement, Arif Naqvi, The Abraaj Group founder, said the process marks the culmination of an extremely complex and challenging phase of negotiations and detailed planning.  “Since our differences with certain investors first came to light, we have worked to investigate the matter and address their concerns.

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“Keeping the interests of the Limited Partners in the Funds managed by Abraaj Investment Management Limited (AIML) during this turbulent period has been paramount.  Regardless of their future ownership, we are confident that the Funds will achieve above-market returns in the years to come. The provisional liquidation of Abraaj Holdings will create a more controlled basis for moving forward, without impacting the day to day management and the underlying portfolio businesses. An independent AIML, under new ownership, will be stabilizing for all who are associated with the asset management business.

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Naqvi added that the process of court supervised restructuring will take a few months.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 15th, 2018.

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