Dubai shipper set to draw 20 bids

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The Independent Online

Bids for the $700m (£455m)-valued Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS), the Dubai-owned marine company, are due tomorrow, as the heavily indebted state seeks to arrest its financial decline.

Inchcape's management expects more than 20 offers from bidders including the private equity houses CVC, Charterhouse, Permira and Bridgepoint, and a number of pension funds, such as the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System. ISS hopes to sell by late May.

The Essex-based company has been owned by Istithmar, part of struggling Dubai World, since 2006. Dubai World shocked the markets in November when it announced a standstill on repaying its $26bn debt. It has since proposed a restructuring of the loan with its creditors.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Royal Bank of Scotland are running the ISS sale and organised so-called "staple finance", a loan package for the buyer.