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Aston Martin part owner seeks Kuwait state aid

08-Mar-2010 • Bond Style

The debt-troubled Kuwaiti Islamic investment firm that owns half of British luxury car maker Aston Martin said Sunday it may seek state legal protection as it struggles to appease some of its creditors.

Investment Dar said in an emailed statement it is considering turning to the Gulf state's financial stability law after failing to win over "a small minority of investors" to its restructuring plan - reports Business Week

Utilizing the law would give the company and a majority of investors supporting its efforts the opportunity to move ahead on a previously agreed restructuring plan while shielding it from legal claims brought by dissenting creditors that might block the process, according to the company.

"Entry into the financial stability law will enable Investment Dar to implement the agreed restructuring plan," Chairman and Chief Executive Adnan al-Musallam said in a statement. "This is in the best interests of all (the company's) stakeholders."

The investment house announced last May that it was in default of a $100 million sukuk -- a type of investment structured to avoid paying interest in line with Islamic law.

The company says it has gained the support of more than 80 percent of its banks and investors to its restructuring plan, which it says envisions "a full repayment of the financial arrangements with all its banks and investors."

Investment Dar said the stability law will have no affect on its legal status, and will allow the firm to continue to operate as a viable investment company.

"Investment Dar would not seek financial support in making its repayments, but a legal framework to implement its well supported plan," the statement said.

The company launched its restructuring plan last year. It is seeking to renegotiate terms with lenders while selling off "noncore assets" to generate cash.

It has said its stake in Aston Martin, the British auto company whose sports cars were immortalized in James Bond films, is not among the assets on the table.

Other than Aston Martin, Investment Dar holds a range of banking and property investments.

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