| HONG KONG/SINGAPORE
HONG KONG/SINGAPORE May 22 China's state-owned
Sinochem is no longer pursuing an investment in Noble Group Ltd
due to concerns over the finances and business outlook
of the loss-making commodity trader, three sources familiar with
the matter told Reuters.
When it held talks with Noble earlier this year to buy a
stake, Sinochem's thinking, sources have told Reuters, was that
a deal could help the oil, gas and petrochemicals producer to
become a globally active energy trader.
But Sinochem has become cautious about linking up with Noble
after the trader posted a shock quarterly loss this month,
sparking a rout of its shares and bonds and triggering cuts in
outlooks by rating agencies, sources said.
Noble has been wracked in the past two years by a steep
downturn in commodities prices, management overhauls and
allegations of improper accounting, which the company has
The recent turmoil triggered fresh concerns at Sinochem
about Noble's performance and ability to repay debt, the sources
Sinochem, which has not confirmed its interest so far in a
Noble stake, did not immediately respond to a request for
An external spokeswoman for Noble declined to comment and
referred Reuters to the company's statement on Feb. 14 when
Noble had said it was in discussions regarding a possible
strategic investment in the company but no binding arrangement
had been entered into.
The sources declined to be identified due to the sensitivity
of the matter.
($1 = 1.3870 Singapore dollars)
(Reporting by Sumeet Chatterjee and Anshuman Daga; Additional
reporting by Meng Meng in BEIJING; Editing by Muralikumar