August 6, 2017 / 11:16 AM / 7 months ago

CORRECTED-UAE firm JBF RAK seeks to renegotiate 2 bln dirhams of debt-sources

(In AUG 6 story deletes reference to Ras al-Khaimah Investment Authority)

By Hadeel Al Sayegh and Tom Arnold

DUBAI, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Manufacturer JBF RAK is in talks with banks about renegotiating around 2 billion dirhams ($544.6 million) of debt, banking sources told Reuters.

The polyester producer, which according to its website is an affiliate of India’s JBF Group, has contacted lenders about reviewing its debt obligations, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity as the matter is not public.

JBF RAK did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

JBF RAK manufactures a synthetic fibre and resin which is spun into fabrics but also moulded into disposable bottles for beverages, shampoo and liquid soap.

One of the sources said JBF RAK, which has relationships with 19 banks, is seeking to extend maturities on outstanding bank liabilities of around 1.96 billion dirhams.

The company may also seek a restructuring, but no decision has been taken yet, according to a second banking source.

The latest financial statements on the Group’s website show JBF RAK recorded an annual loss of 110.03 million dirhams ($29.96 million) for the year ended Mar. 31 2016, compared to a profit of 1.44 million dirhams a year earlier.

JBF RAK is one of five plants owned by JBF Group. The others are located in India, Belgium and Bahrain. The group, which is listed on India’s National Stock Exchange, said on Aug. 3 its board was planning to discuss the sale or restructure of the overseas subsidiaries of the company, without elaborating.

JBF Group was downgraded to a ‘D’ default rating by credit rating agencies due to delays in servicing its debt, a company filing shows. It did not name the agencies.

India Ratings and Research, which has downgraded the company to D, said on July 27 the downgrade was on “account of a significant deterioration in the group’s financial risk profile, resulting from losses in overseas operations”.

Recent policy changes by the Indian government, which include a new goods and services tax and 2016’s demonetisation push, has stirred protest and shutdowns in the “domestic unorganised textile segment”, the group said in a disclosure in response to the downgrades.

“This has resulted in the cash flows of the company to be severely affected and delays in servicing some of its debt obligation with the lenders,” the group said.

Global private equity giant KKR in 2015 invested $150 million to buy a 20 percent stake in JBF Group.

$1 = 3.6725 UAE dirham Editing by Catherine Evans

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