Noble Group flags another loss as costs mount

SINGAPORE • Noble Group Ltd warned of another quarterly loss, driven by restructuring and finance costs, as the embattled commodity trader moves toward completing a US$3.5 billion (RM14.63 billion) rescue deal that’ll hand control to creditors.

The net loss for the three months to September will be US$90 million to US$115 million, according to a filing on Monday. It expects to incur restructuring costs of about US$35 million, after spending more than US$100 million in the first half.

Once Asia’s largest commodity trader, Noble Group’s crisis has escalated in recent years as losses and defaults mounted. Creditors gather on Nov 8 to vote on its restructuring plan, which has been approved by shareholders.

In addition to restructuring costs, the company highlighted a loss of US$55 million from discontinued operations, including from assets disposed of several years ago as troubles intensified. The figure included a provision for agricultural operations sold in 2014 and 2015, as well as against the oil liquids business.

The loss left the company with a negative net asset position of US$1.1 billion, it said. Despite “constraints on liquidity and availability of competitive trade finance to support operations”, Noble said implementing the debt plan should “restore shareholders’ equity and create a sustainable capital structure”.

Once worth more than US$10 billion, the company now has a market value of less than US$80 million. Yesterday, the stock retreated as much as 7%, and traded 5.8% lower at 8.1 Singapore cents at 2:39pm. — Bloomberg