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'Booming' Dubai set to borrow $10bn+

Dubai Government seeks to borrow at least $10bn by 2009, as the emirate’s ambitious expansion plans begin to outpace revenues from its oil, which is expected to run dry within 20 years.

Such borrowing would be used to fund the road, rail, power and water desalination infrastructure necessary to achieve Dubai's ambitious plans for economic growth, which the emirate's ruler forecasts will hit 11% per year until 2015.

This will require borrowing that will “go into double-digit billions” by 2009, according to Nasser Akil Abbas, treasury director at Dubai government’s finance department, quoted by Bloomberg.

“There will be both syndicated loans and bonds of 7, 10 and 15-year [maturities]”, he added.

Dubai is seeking a credit rating in order to achieve this, and its Department of Finance is drawing up a strategy with advice from JP Morgan and Swiss bank UBS, according to a senior official.

"The Government of Dubai is assessing its medium-term financing strategy and is evaluating different available alternatives," Mr. Al Qamzi, Director General of the Department of Finance, said in a statement made to the state news agency.

"The timetable for the ratings process as well as the specifics of Dubai's financing strategy are yet to be finalised and will be communicated in due course."

Talks with UBS are likely to be further strengthened by news that the bank today celebrates its official opening at the Dubai International Finance Centre. Huw Jenkins, CEO and Chairman for UBS Investment Bank, and Peter Burnett, Chairman for UBS in the Middle East, will be in attendance.

Anticipation of a debut bond from Dubai has been growing since Dubai Holding Commercial Group's $2.5 billion bond sale last month. The company is owned by the emirate's ruler, and the move was seen as a precursor to the government’s debut in the bond market.

Dubai Holding Commercial Group's sale, rated A+ by Standard & Poor's, AA- by Fitch and A1 by Moody's, received orders of about $12.5 billion last month.

It was previously reported that Dubai's government planned to issue $4 billion worth of dollar-denominated bonds in the international market to fund infrastructure projects, according to a Dubai official last year. via arabianbusiness.com

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