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Investment Dar wins legal protection

KUWAIT CITY, Mar 14 – A Kuwaiti court has granted troubled firm Investment Dar, which owns half of luxury British carmaker Aston Martin, legal protection from creditors, the company said on Sunday.

The Kuwaiti firm, which has more than three billion dollars of debt, applied to come under the emirate\’s financial protection law, which was enacted about a year ago to help companies face the global financial crisis.

The leading Islamic investment firm is the first company to resort to protection under the law.

The court "has accepted the Investment Dar request to come under the financial stability law," the company said in a statement posted on the Kuwait Stock Exchange website.

"Accordingly, all legal actions against the company will be halted," it added.

Dar has said the move is aimed at pushing through a debt restructuring plan backed by more than 80 percent of creditors but opposed by a minority, some of whom have filed lawsuits.

Under the plan, Investment Dar will repay in full its financial arrangements to all banks and investors, the company has said.

It has also stressed that it will not seek financial support from the government by coming under the stability law, but wants a legal framework to implement the restructuring plan.

The company\’s shares have been suspended from trading on the Kuwait Stock Exchange since April 1 last year for failure to report 2008 financial results.

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Like many Kuwaiti investment firms, Investment Dar has been hit hard by the global economic downturn.

In December, Kuwait\’s top investment firm, Global Investment House, struck a a deal with creditors to restructure loans worth over 1.7 billion dollars.

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