The court approved claims from over 70 financial institutions in the AHAB case, including Saudi and regional banks as well as international lenders/Bloombergby Kudakwashe Muzoriwa
Saudi Arabia's largest and longest debt saga could be nearing a resolution after a court approved around $14 billion in claims related to the collapse of two business empires a decade ago.
The Dammam Commercial Court last week approved more than $7 billion of claims against Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi and Brothers (AHAB) out of nearly $12 billion in total claims listed and around $6.5 billion against tycoon Maan al-Sanea and his company Saad Group.
Additionally, the Dammam court approved about $6.5 billion of claims against Sanea and Saad Group out of nearly $18 billion of listed claims, excluding those filed by the group's employees in December 2019.
A court-driven end to the saga is expected to offer some relief to those creditors and will be an important sign to international investors, as the cases would be resolved under the Kingdom’s new bankruptcy law introduced in 2018 as part of reforms aimed at making Saudi Arabia investor friendly.
The AHAB and Saad Group have been locked into a bitter dispute over who was to blame for the 2009 collapse of the companies which left dozens of local and international banks with billions of dollars of unpaid debt.
Reuters reported that the court approved claims from over 70 financial institutions in the AHAB case, including Saudi and regional banks as well as international lenders such as BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and JPMorgan.
However, the court rejected two of four claims by Bahrain’s The International Bank Corporation (TBIC) which has around $3 billion in claims against AHAB. The bank had raised money in international markets, transferring the funds to AHAB.
The Saudi court approved around $1.8 billion worth of TIBC claims out of the $3 billion.