Case | HBS Case Collection | June 2010 (Revised July 2012)

Dubai: Debt, Development, and Crisis (A)

by Aldo Musacchio, Andrew Christopher Goodman and Claire K. Qureshi

Abstract

On November 25, 2009, the city state of Dubai stunned markets by announcing that Dubai World, its flagship state holding company, would seek a six-month "standstill" on at least $4 billion U.S. dollars of its $26 billion in debt obligations. This case describes Dubai's development strategy in detail and narrates how, as part of that strategy, a series of state-owned holding companies accumulated billions of dollars in debt. The (A) case ends as Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, chairman of Dubai's Fiscal Committee, has to decide what to do about the financial troubles of Dubai World and other state-owned holding companies. The case presents Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed having to decide among three options: the Dubai government can guarantee the debt, they can renegotiate the debt, or they can walk away (i.e., default). The (B) case describes the decision and the reactions to this decision around the world and presents a new decision on the part of bond holders of Dubai's state-owned holding companies. The (C) case briefly analyzes the advantages and disadvantages of Dubai's bankruptcy procedures, both for investors and for the holding companies of Dubai.

Keywords: Accounting; Decision Choices and Conditions; Development Economics; Financial Crisis; Borrowing and Debt; Financial Strategy; State Ownership; Business and Government Relations; Dubai;

Citation:

Musacchio, Aldo, Andrew Christopher Goodman, and Claire K. Qureshi. "Dubai: Debt, Development, and Crisis (A)." Harvard Business School Case 710-069, June 2010. (Revised July 2012.)