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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (


) --

Dubai World

is close to finalizing an agreement with creditors to restructure its $24.9 billion worth of debt.

The state-run investment company expects to finalize the restructuring within weeks, and said it has the support of 99% of its lenders who control nearly all of the debt. About 73 creditor banks are involved.

Dubai World

"This agreement formalizes a strong consensus around a fair and balanced restructuring proposal and is a key step towards putting Dubai World on a sound and stable financial footing whilst enabling it to realize the full potential of its underlying businesses," said Sheik Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai's Supreme Fiscal Committee.

Investor concern mounted on a global scale last November after the Dubai government announced to its creditors its investment arm would delay interest payments on the massive loans it took on before the financial crisis hit economies around the world.

Dubai World and some of its creditors -- seven core banks -- reached a tentative agreement in May to repay $14.4 billion of the debt within eight years, or about 60% of its debt at the time. The Dubai government also agreed to convert nearly $9 billion of the debt into equity, the

New York Times


The debt totaled $23.5 billion in May, but accrued interest and additional contingent claims brought the total up to $24.9 billion since then.



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said the current restructuring leaves Dubai World with $14.4 billion in debt, maturing in five years in four portions of $4.4 billion, and a portion of $10 billion maturing in eight years. The report also indicated Dubai World may look to divest some of its equity portfolio, and could garner as much as $19.4 billion through the sale of certain assets.

The International Monetary Fund estimated that Dubai and its roster of state-run companies held combined debts totaling as much as $109 billion, according to the

Associated Press


-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.

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