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Dubai World 'is not selling Barneys'

THE chairman of the Dubai conglomerate that owns Barneys New York said on Saturday that the company is not looking for a buyer for the luxury retailer, dispelling recent media reports.

"We have not announced nor sought anybody regarding Barneys," Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem said in response to a question from The Associated Press.

The Dubai World chairman made the comment during a briefing with reporters after the opening of a port operated by his company's DP World subsidiary in the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti.

Sulayem oversees many of Dubai's biggest state-owned companies, including real estate developer Nakheel and investment arm Istithmar World, which bought Barneys less than two years ago.

A number of news organizations have reported that Istithmar might be trying to sell the high-end retailer.

The reports come amid concerns by some bankers and analysts about Dubai World's ability to repay its debts.

Officials in Dubai, part of the United Arab Emirates, which borrowed heavily to fuel a frenzied building and infrastructure boom in recent years, have sought to tamp down those fears and say that Dubai has the resources to pay its creditors.

Sulayem joined Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh in opening the DP World-run Doraleh container terminal outside of the capital, Djibouti city, on Saturday.

The firm and parent Dubai World plays a large role in the African country, which overlooks the world's main shipping lanes from its perch at the mouth of the Red Sea.

In addition to ports, the conglomerate operates a free trade zone and a fuel depot.


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