July 17, 2017 / 11:36 AM / 4 months ago

Doha Festival City says still talking with banks on loan amendment

DUBAI (Reuters) - Qatari shopping mall operator Doha Festival City said it remained in discussions with banks to amend a $1 billion loan after bankers said a refinancing of the facility had been put on hold because of Qatar’s diplomatic crisis.

The logo of Doha Festival City mall is seen in Doha, Qatar, July 13, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer

Several bankers, including two at Qatari institutions involved in the proposed deal, told Reuters that the refinancing had been indefinitely postponed as the crisis had deterred Gulf banks from doing new business with Qatar and tightened liquidity in the domestic Qatari money market.

Doha Festival City initially declined to comment on the news. Late on Sunday, however, the project’s owner, Bawabat al-Shamal Real Estate Co, issued a brief statement saying the refinancing had not been frozen and had not been affected by the diplomatic crisis.

The project ”continues to enjoy a healthy relationship with all the banks it has been dealing with since the start of the development,” the company said.

A spokesman for Doha Festival City told Reuters on Monday that the company was still discussing with banks amendments to its loan, which it raised in 2012. He declined to give any details of the talks or say when a deal might be reached.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting terrorism, a charge which Doha denies.

Reporting by Davide Barbuscia; Editing by Andrew Torchia, Greg Mahlich

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