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Dubai-listed Arabtec Holding hires AlixPartners for debt advisory -sources

DUBAI, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Loss-making Dubai-listed contractor Arabtec Holding has hired advisory firm AlixPartners to help it restructure the company’s debt, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

AlixPartners is assessing the company’s debt profile, before any potential discussions with Arabtec’s creditors, said the sources, declining to be named as the matter is not public.

Arabtec did not respond to a query for comment when contacted by Reuters on Thursday. AlixPartners declined to comment.

Arabtec Holding is due to hold a shareholder meeting on Thursday afternoon to decide whether to continue operating or liquidate and dissolve the firm after the pandemic hit projects and led to additional costs.

The company, which last month posted a first-half loss of 794 million dirhams ($216.18 million) and total accumulated losses of 1.46 billion dirhams, said on Sept. 9 it was calling a general assembly under an article of United Arab Emirates company law.

The law requires companies to vote on whether they should continue operating if their accumulated losses reach half of their issued share capital.

Shares of Arabtec Holding, which helped build the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, have plunged 56.7% this year. They were down almost 5% when a suspension of trading was triggered at 1 pm local time ahead of the meeting, which was being held in Abu Dhabi.

Several UAE companies have sought to extend debt maturities or agree better terms in recent years to avoid defaults, after an oil price crash hit energy services and construction.

This week, creditors started to enforce claims against Abu Dhabi-based Al Jaber Group, which has struggled since building up debt in the wake of a UAE real estate crisis and began talks with creditors in 2011.

Dubai-listed construction firm Drake & Scull is working under the UAE bankruptcy law to reach an agreement with its creditors in an out-of-court process.

Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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