Noble Group shares soar after deal with key investor

Sunday, June 24, 2018

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SINGAPORE (AFP) — Noble Group shares surged more than 50 per cent Wednesday after the embattled commodities trader sealed a deal with a major investor, paving the way for a debt restructuring.

The former stock market darling had been teetering on the brink of collapse after being hammered by plunging commodity prices, a ratings downgrade and allegations of irregular accounting practices.

It sold off assets and embarked on a US$3.5-billion debt restructuring, but the plan ran into opposition from a major shareholder, Goldilocks Investment Co.

Noble suspended trading in its shares on the Singapore Exchange on Monday as it sought to negotiate a way out.

Goldilocks agreed to back a revised restructuring plan which raises shareholders' equity in the company to 20 per cent, up from 15 per cent. Goldilocks also gets to nominate a representative to the Noble board of directors.

Abu Dhabi Financial Group, with which Goldilocks is affiliated, will also form a strategic partnership with Noble to explore opportunities in the Middle East.

Trading resumed Wednesday after the agreement was reached, with Noble shares soaring as much as 57 per cent to 8.5 Singapore cents. The stock remains 60 lower than last year.

Goldilocks currently holds about 8.1 per cent of Noble's shares.

“By reaching agreement with Goldilocks, the company is now able to move into the final stages of its restructuring,” Noble Chairman Paul Brough said in a statement.

Noble, which is headquartered in Hong Kong and listed in Singapore, reported a massive net loss of almost US$5 billion last year despite selling many of its assets in a bid to ensure survival.

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