February 27, 2017 / 10:12 AM / 6 months ago

Noble Group swings to small profit in 2016, reduces debt

SINGAPORE, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Noble Group Ltd reported a full year profit of $8.7 million in the year ending December 2016 versus a huge loss in the previous year when the Singapore-listed commodities trader restructured its business operations.

The Hong Kong-headquartered company is slowly recovering after the restructuring, cutting debt and boosting liquidity amid a long-term downtrend in commodity prices. In 2015, it reported a loss of $1.67 billion, its first in nearly two decades.

"Management continues to pursue the same goals that we laid out previously - to rationalise low return or loss making businesses while devoting resources to those core businesses in which we have a competitive advantage and where we expect to see continued strong returns over a cycle," Noble said in a statement on Monday.

Noble's revenue declined 30 percent to $46.5 billion last year. In line with the company's efforts to cut leverage, net debt to capital fell to 42 percent from 55 percent a year ago.

Noble's troubles started two years ago when its accounts were questioned by Iceberg Research, sparking a dramatic collapse in its share price and ratings agency downgrades, forcing a sale of its assets and a fund raising to allay financing worries in a brutal commodities market. Noble has stood by its accounts. (Reporting by Anshuman Daga; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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