Drake & Scull appoints acting finance head

Dubai-based contractor Drake & Scull International (DSI) said on Tuesday it has appointed a new acting chief financial officer to assist with its capital restructuring and ongoing negotiations with its lenders.

The company has hired Feras Kalthoum as its acting chief fin­ancial officer, with immediate effect.

Mr Kalthoum has more than 18 years of executive experience, and is “someone who is well-versed with finance and who has restructuring experience”, according to DSI chief executive Wael Allan.

Mr Allan added that Mr Kalthoum “has worked with companies that have been in distress and has helped to turn businesses around”.

Mr Kalthoum is a candidate who has previously worked with Tabarak Investment – the company that recently bought out former vice-chairman Khaldoun Tabari’s stake and is expected to become a majority shareholder in DSI if the latest proposed capital restructuring is approved by the UAE market regulator Securities and Commodities Authority.

“It’s an appointment that Tabarak has endorsed. In our discussions, we felt it was necessary to change the emphasis of the CFO position,” said Mr Allan.

DSI is in the midst of a restructuring process which, if approved, will involve 75 per cent of its share capital being cancelled to extinguish Dh1.71 billion in accumulated losses. Following this, Tabarak Investment will subscribe to 500 million new DSI shares at Dh1 per share, representing about 47 per cent of its enlarged capital. When added to its existing stake, this will make Tabarak Investment the majority shareholder in DSI.

The company also needs to renegotiate its debt with lenders. It is in breach of the terms of its sukuk and other loans, and its accounts to the end of March 2017 show that it owes more than Dh2.44bn in bank loans, as well as a further Dh3.4bn in trade debts and other receiv­ables.

Mr Kalthoum replaces outgoing chief financial officer Kailash Sadangi, who only joined DSI just over 12 months ago in April 2016, having previously worked in a senior finance role at Saudi Arabian contractor Al Khodari Sons. Mr Sadangi will remain with DSI for a transition period, but is expected to leave within the next 2-3 months.

Mr Kalthoum has been an adviser to Makkah & Madinah Holdings (now Dana Group Investment) for the past two years, but his previous roles include a spell as chief financial officer of Dubai World’s investment arm, Istithmar World, from 2008 to 2011. Before that, he was the head of investments at Tamweel – a home loans provider that was eventually acquired by Dubai Islamic Bank.

mfahy@thenational.ae

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