Dubai may sell QE2 to tackle debt crisis The high-profile “trophy asset” of Dubai’s boom years may have to be sold to pay off the emirate’s mounting debts.

Is QE2 doomed to the scrap heap in India?  Bring out the worry beads!

Cruise Ship History: Dubai may sell former Cunard Line QE2 to tackle debt crisis – The high-profile “trophy asset” of Dubai’s boom years may have to be sold to pay off the emirate’s mounting debts.  The QE2 competes with the RMS Titanic for media attention.

From The Daily Telegraph:

The QE2 arrives at Port Rashid in Dubai. The Gulf state may have to sell the high profile asset acquired during the boom years.

Dubai World, the state-run company at the heart of a default crisis that has sent shock waves through the global financial system, bought a string of prestige stakes and properties as the city grew.  The team of auditors brought in by the government, led by one of Britain’s leading experts in restructuring troubled firms, is to trawl through all the company assets with no options ruled out, a spokesman confirmed on Friday.

The dream that will never happen.  Dubai goes broke and where will the most famous cruise liner in the world end up?

The Daily Telegraph also understands that Abu Dhabi is giving close scrutiny to ‘non-core’ assets like the QE2 in the Dubai World portfolio.

Dubai’s neighbouring emirate has agreed to lend $5bn to the support fund that is being used to bail out the city’s finances, but is reluctant to see any of that money go to Dubai World until a clear exit from its debt problems has been plotted.

Nakheel bought the QE2 for $100m in 2007, but by the time it arrived in Port Rashid a year ago this week its future was already looking uncertain. Since then, little has been done to put in place ambitious plans to saw off a funnel in favour of a glass penthouse and refit its suites and ballrooms into a floating hotel.

It is supposed to be heading off for South Africa so that visitors can look round during the World Cup next year, at least bringing in some revenue.
QE2 is just one of a string of assets now held by Dubai World. Leaving aside its port operations and P&O, which it bought in 2005, all of which fall under its DP World subsidiary which is said to be exempt from restructuring, it has stakes in everything from entertainment companies to London apartments.

“I’m sure all of the assets of Dubai World will be reviewed,” the spokesman said. “The QE2 is one of them. It’s part of the restructuring process, though it’s too early to say whether there’s any sale in mind.”
Nakheel has two hotel chains, one of which owns the Turnberry Hotel. Istithmar World, Dubai World’s venture capital arm, has stakes in Barneys, the New York department store, Cirque du Soleil, the South African entrepreneur Sol Kerzner’s hotel chain, and Standard Chartered Bank.
The company has also bought into MGM Mirage, the Las Vegas gambling operation – even though gambling is banned in Dubai – and Troon Golf. London properties include Adelphi on the Strand and the Grand Buildings in Trafalgar Square.

Dubai’s senior officials are emphasising that progress will be methodical rather than dramatic, but confirmed that Aidan Birkett, the partner of Deloitte’s appointed as chief restructuring officer, had assembled a team in the city to start going through the books.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, the head of the emirate’s finance committee and uncle of its ruler, Sheikh Mohammed, said in a statement on Thursday night that its intervention in Dubai World was “carefully planned” and that more information would be revealed next week.

However, investors will not be reassured that the careful planning did not include informing senior government figures in Abu Dhabi, who were caught as much by surprise as everyone else by the statement revealing the debt crisis on Wednesday night.

Officials remain insistent though that Abu Dhabi will stand by its neighbour, both as an emirate and as the senior partner in the federal government of the United Arab Emirates.

Sheikh Mohammed has previously insisted that Dubai World is a company and not part of the government, which would not necessarily guarantee its debts. Abu Dhabi is now expected to reassure the international markets that default by Dubai World does not imply a wider default that would undermine confidence in the city or the country as a whole.

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About Michael L. Grace

MICHAEL L. GRACE is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. SNOOPY continues to be one of the most produced shows (amateur & stock) in America/Worldwide and has had long running productions in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and in London's West End. There are over 100 individual productions every year. He has written movies for TV, including the award-winning thriller LADY KILLER, various pilots and developed screenplays for Kevin Costner and John Travolta. Besides co-writing and co-producing SNOOPY, he wrote and produced the one-man play KENNEDY. He produced P.S. YOUR CAT IS DEAD by pulitzer prize winning author James Kirkwood. He wrote the stage thriller FINAL CUT which had productions in the UK, South Africa and Australia. His one-man play, KENNEDY - THE MAN BEHIND THE MYTH, was developed for HBO and has starred Andrew Stevens, Gregory Harrison and Joseph Bottoms. He has recently been involved in European productions with CLT-UFA, Europe's leading commercial television and radio broadcaster. He wrote MOWs THE DOLL COLLECTION, THE BOTTOM LINE and LAST WITNESS for German television. While in college and graduate school he worked as a foreign correspondent for COMBAT, the famous leftwing Paris daily, and as a travel writer. He visited more than 50 countries. He struggled as an actor, then joined the enemy and entered the training program at William Morris. He became a publicist and worked for Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager, at Paramount and MGM. He followed with a brief stint as a story executive, working in the frantic horror genre period of the early 80s and wrote THE UNSEEN. He went onto write for episodic television and develop series pilots. He was a continuing writer on such series such as LOVE BOAT, PAPER DOLLS, and KNOTS LANDING. He developed screenplays for such major award winning directors as Nicolas Meyers, Tony Richardson and J. Lee Thompson. He has written for all the major networks and studios. He has been hired numerous times as a script doctor, doing many uncredited rewrites on TV movies and features. He is currently writing A PERSON OF INTEREST, a thriller novel, and, IT'S THE LOVE BOAT... AND HOW IT CHANGED CRUISING BY SHIP a non-fiction book dealing with how the hit TV series as a major cultural phenomenon and altered the style of cruising by ship. He was raised in Los Angeles. He attended St. Paul's, USC and the Pasadena Playhouse. He received a B.A from San Francisco State University where he majored in theatre arts and minored in creative writing. He is listed as a SFSU leading alumni. He also apprenticed at ACT - The American Conservatory Theatre. For a brief period he had intentions of becoming an Episcopal(Anglican) priest and attended seminary at Kelham Theological College in the UK. When "the calling" wasn't there, he left seminary and did graduate work at the American University of Beirut. He has guest lectured at USC, UC San Diego, McGill, Univ. of London and the Univ. of Texas on the business aspects of making a living and surviving as a writer, focusing on development hell, in the Hollywood entertainment industry. Grace is a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America, the Dramatist Guild and former regional chairman of the Steamship Historical Society of America. He resides in Palm Springs.

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