Questions are being asked about the financial health of Dubai after a major, government-owned investment firm asked for a six month delay on the repayment of its debts. Dubai World is in the process of restructuring and has asked creditors if it can postpone forthcoming payments on its $59bn debt pile until May 2010. The company has been hit hard by the global financial crisis following six years of rapid growth. The request to delay repayments (amounting to $3.5bn for next month alone) has led to credit agencies downgrading the ratings of many state-backed firms. It has also been reported that property developer Nakheel, a Dubai World subsidiary, has requested a delay in debt repayment.