Dana Gas shareholder optimistic

Hopes to reach a ‘comfortable resolution’ on $920m sukuk

Crescent Petroleum, a key shareholder in Dana Gas, is optimistic that the Sharjah-based natural gas producer can reach a "comfortable resolution" on its $920 million (Dh3.37 billion) Islamic bond maturing in October, Crescent's president said on Tuesday.

Abu Dhabi-listed Dana is also in talks with the Egyptian government to recover delayed receivables from its operations in the North African country, Badr Jafar, Crescent's president, told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Dubai.

"As a shareholder... I believe there are discussions ongoing with the ministry for scheduled payments to recover the receivables," Jafar told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Dubai.

"I'm optimistic and have a lot of faith in the professionalism and savvy of the management and board to reach a comfortable resolution with the bondholders and investors alike," he added.

Dana started facing problems last year after anti-government protests in countries such as Egypt led to payment delays from government entities. It has also faced payment issues in Iraq's Kurdistan region.

The company was owed Dh729 million ($198.5 million) in Egypt as at June 30, 2012, according to its half-year results. They received Dh431 million from Egypt during the first six months of the year.

Crescent is the largest shareholder in Dana with a stake of 20.1 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Dana, which owns a 3-per cent stake in Hungarian group MOL, has so far provided no details on how it plans to meet the upcoming Islamic bond maturity.

The natural gas producer had appointed Blackstone Group and Deutsche Bank as advisers to help it weigh options for the sukuk and said it was committed to finding a consensual solution.

It had cash balance of Dh601 million as of June 30, 2012, it said in August. Dana shares have fallen 11 per cent year-to-date.

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