DUBAI, (Reuters) – Unrated companies in the Gulf Arab region have $67 billion in outstanding debt and may seek to issue conventional or Islamic bonds or structured-finance instruments to extend maturities, ratings agency Moody’s said.
Out of the total debt pile, the proportion of short-term debt for unrated firms stands at over 28 percent, the ratings agency said in a report titled “Refinancing Corporate Debt in the Arabian Gulf” on Wednesday.
“The proportion of bank debt for unrated corporates is high, which Moody’s believes makes such corporates more likely to pursue debt funding as an alternative,” it said.
Such issuance will result in increased demand for new rating requests, according to the agency. It estimated the total outstanding debt of rated corporates at $145 billion.
The ratings agency said telecommunications, real estate, construction and investment holding firms had the “greatest need” to extend short-term debt maturities in the region.
Corporate issuers in the Gulf Arab region will continue to face tough credit conditions until 2012, particularly lenders with large debt maturities that year, Moody’s said in a report in June, describing 2012 as year with a “wall of maturity”.
Last year, the ratings agency estimated the Dubai government and its related entities to have debt of $100 billion.
Dubai’s debt woes sparked off an unprecedented flight of capital from the region after state-owned Dubai World conglomerate announced a standstill on $26 billion in debt in November.