Sovereign wealth fund owned by the Dubai state, an Emirate of the UAE, and active in the financial, real estate, transport, logistics, navy and sports sector.
Chairman of the fund is Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem. Dubai is one of the very few countries in the Gulf with no oil nor natural gas. Its growth is based on tourism and luxury real estate (e.g. the Palm).
Its homepage states that "The Sun Never Sets on Dubai World". Yet, on 2 November 2009, just before the Muslin feats of sacrifice, Dubai World announced that the sun had started to set, and the short-term debt had to be rescheduled with banks. The nominal debt of Dubai World with European banks reached 40 billion euros, 25 of which were short-term. The banks involved were HSBC, Standard Chartered, Barclays, Abn Amro, Citibank, BNP Paribas. Dubai was considered the safe box of ayatollahs, and some Iranian banks were probably involved in the crisis.
The most relevant effects of the Dubai difficulties are on sponsorships: F1 team McLaren-Mercedes, navy team New Zealand, and football teams Liverpool, Milan, Amburgo and Arsenal. Italian engineering and building firms working in the Gulf seem to be confident that the situation will improve, but their potential losses are estimated to be very high. The exit strategy from the crisis will probably pass through the restructuring debt with European banks, and a rescue plan by the Abu Dhabi central bank and sovereign wealth fund, an Emirate that is rich in oil and natural gas.