Emirates NBD Bad Loans Improve After Dubai World Offer

Emirates NBD PJSC, the United Arab Emirates’ second-biggest bank, said its bad loans ratio improved after reclassifying its exposure to Dubai World, which last week said it agreed a $14.6 billion debt restructuring.

The Dubai government-controlled lender’s impaired loan ratio dropped to 7.8 percent at the end of December, from 12.6 percent in the third quarter, according to a statement from the company posted on NASDAQ Dubai today. The bank said its debt to Dubai World is now performing after the state-owned holding company offered to repay some of its loans ahead of schedule and a majority of creditors agreed to a new debt plan.

Emirates NBD is one of the biggest lenders to Dubai World, which roiled global markets in 2009 by announcing plans to freeze payments on approximately $25 billion of debt. About 73 percent of Dubai World’s creditors agreed to a new debt restructuring proposal last week, which includes early repayment of $2.92 billion due this year and the extension of debt due in 2018 to 2022. The plan may be approved in May.

The bad loan improvement is “due to a reclassification of the bank’s Dubai World exposure, the write-off of fully provided retail loans and a sharp rise in repayments and recoveries as a result of a stronger economy and a more vigorous pursuit of problem loan resolution,” the company said.

Emirates NBD’s impairment allowances in 2014 climbed 6 percent to 5 billion dirhams ($1.4 billion), boosting its bad loans coverage ratio to 100.3 percent. The bank today reported a 83 percent jump in fourth-quarter profit to 1.23 billion dirhams and raised its proposed dividend for 2014 to 35 fils a share, from 25 fils a year earlier.

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