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Saudi’s Algosaibi says to put revised debt proposal to creditors

AHAB has direct liabilities to banks and financial institutions worth around $6 billion.

DUBAI, April 21 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi and Brothers (AHAB) said on Tuesday it will put an improved offer to its creditors in the coming weeks in a fresh attempt to reach a settlement.

The family conglomerate collapsed in 2009 along with Saad Group, a separate Saudi business empire led by Maan al-Sanea, since when the two have been battling over who was to blame for the issues which affected their respective conglomerates.

AHAB has direct liabilities to banks and financial institutions worth around $6 billion, it disclosed in May 2014, when it made an initial offer to repay creditors a minimum of 20 cents on every dollar owed.

In a statement on Tuesday AHAB said it had agreed with the steering committee, the five-member group charged with negotiating on the behalf of creditors, to present improved settlement terms to the full claimant group.

The improved terms, which were not disclosed in the statement, would be put to creditors at a meeting to be scheduled “in the coming weeks”, it added.

“We have moved our position significantly and, without question, this deal represents the best option for financial institutions seeking recoveries,” said Simon Charlton, acting chief executive and chief restructuring officer of AHAB.

Ninety of 109 identified claimants, representing approximately 60 percent of the overall debt, are formally involved in the settlement process or have written to AHAB to say they will participate, the statement said.

The previous offer from AHAB had proposed paying 10 percent of claims upfront, with a further 10 percent paid after five years. Further returns to creditors would come from any recoveries from various lawsuits brought by AHAB.

Any final settlement with creditors would still require the approval of the Saudi Arabian authorities, with assent to be sought “upon receiving support from the wider claimant group”.

The five-member steering committee comprises Arab Banking Corporation, BNP Paribas, Emirates NBD, Fortress Investment Group and Standard Chartered.

BNP, ENBD and Standard Chartered all declined to comment when contacted by Reuters. ABC didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Fortress Investment Group and representatives for Saad Group couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. (Reporting by David French; Editing by Greg Mahlich)