DUBAI (Reuters) – A consortium led by United Arab Emirates financial firm SHUAA Capital has bought 1.13 billion dirhams ($308 million) of debt held by Stanford Marine Group (SMG) as part of its restructuring, the companies said on Sunday.

Dubai-based marine services firm SMG has struggled since the collapse in oil prices in 2015, which led to a dramatic fall in chartering rates and a drying up of projects.

“Since 2019, SHUAA Capital has been working with SMG’s lending syndicate and their advisors to arrive at a buyout deal that met all parties’ objectives. The restructuring strengthens SMG’s liquidity position,” SHUAA and SMG said in a joint statement.

The plan has helped save more than 1,800 jobs and annual exports of close to $20 million worth of vessels, the companies said, adding that the debt buyout has supported banks in exiting a distressed debt situation with a cash recovery.

“SHUAA Capital has managed to pull off a complex restructuring program effectively giving the company a new lease of life,” Elias Nassif, chief executive of SMG said.

The firm’s debt problems stemmed from a $325 million Islamic loan agreed in 2015 provided by a group of banks including Noor Bank – which has since been acquired by Dubai Islamic Bank – Barwa Bank, Ajman Bank, United Arab Bank, Qatar Islamic Bank, and First Gulf Bank – now part of First Abu Dhabi Bank.