Dubai looking at potential buyers for its airport cooling system business: Sources

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Dubai is considering the sale of the cooling system operations of its normally busy Dubai International Airport, two sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

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The airport, which handled around 90 million passengers a year before the COVID-19 pandemic brought air travel to a halt, has been the busiest for international travelers since 2014.

Standard Chartered has been hired to advise on the potential deal, one of the sources said.

A second source familiar with the matter said although a sale of the cooling system operations was being considered, it may not end up being sold.

Dubai’s Department of Finance will make the final decision, the source said, adding that all options were being evaluated.

Bloomberg, citing unidentified sources, earlier reported that the cooling system business was up for sale and worth around $750 million.

A controlling stake is being offered to investors, who would get a long-term operating contract, the first source said.

Dubai’s government media office did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment. Standard Chartered declined to comment.

The potential sale comes amid a sharp economic downturn in Dubai due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has sparked memories of the emirate’s damaging debt crisis in 2009.

Dubai forecasts a $3.2 billion deficit this year, and in September returned to the debt market for the first time in six years as it sought to shore up its finances.