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The Associated Press November 29, 2010, 7:19AM ET

Kuwait's Investment Dar creditor committee quits

The debt-saddled Kuwaiti Islamic investment firm that owns a majority stake in automaker Aston Martin blasted a committee representing its creditors of trying to "derail" restructuring talks, and said it accepted the committee's resignation.

The development, outlined in a statement e-mailed Monday from The Investment Dar, marks the latest hurdle in restructuring talks with a firm that was among Kuwait's most prominent investment houses.

Like many of its peers in the small oil rich nation, however, TID faces massive debts stemming from a spending spree earlier this decade. Its debt stands at roughly 1.15 billion Kuwaiti dinars ($4.09 billion).

TID said it accepted the creditor coordinating committee's resignation after it rejected what it deemed an unfair debt to equity swap.

The committee had proposed an exchange of 475 million dinars of debt for a 90 percent stake in the company. The deal would have left TID shareholders with 10 percent of the company and shouldering 600 million Kuwaiti dinars in debt.

"It is clear that the purpose of this offer and the proposal outlined in the (committee's) letter to negotiate a Debt for Equity plan on this basis is not aimed at reaching an agreement on debt settlement," TID said. "The objective is to derail negotiations between the Company and its banks and investors, depriving the shareholders of their rights and to lay the foundations for the destruction of the Company's value."

The company -- which along with a majority stake in the British automaker also owns the Grosvenor House Apartments in London and other banking and property investments -- launched its restructuring plan last year. It has said it gained the support of more than 80 percent of its banks and investors.

"Despite the residual effects of the wider financial crisis, TID continues to maintain a strong and solid asset base and the Board views this proposal as an overt opportunist attempt by members of the CC to attempt to assume control of TID's assets, motivated by individual greed," TID said.

It accused some members of the committee of acting on "personal and destructive agendas which are not representative of the principles of their appointment or representative of the interests of TID's banks and investors."

TID said in May it was in default on a $100 million Islamic bond. In March, it sought state legal protection stemming from its debts.

TID said it will appoint a new coordinating committee and, meanwhile, will work directly with banks and investors.

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