SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Noble Group Ltd is pushing back this month’s deadline to complete its make-or-break $3.5 billion debt restructuring deal to Dec. 11, amid a probe by Singapore authorities into suspected false and misleading statements issued by the company.
Noble, once Asia’s top commodity trader, has seen its market value all but wiped out from $6 billion in February 2015 after its accounting was questioned by Iceberg Research. To save itself, Noble has shrunk its business by selling billions of dollars of assets, taking hefty writedowns and cutting hundreds of jobs, while defending its accounting.
Singapore-listed Noble said it had made good progress towards completing the restructuring but the timeline had been delayed “due to the additional time required to fully address all concerns of the regulators,” it said in a statement to the Singapore bourse late on Sunday.
As part of its overhaul, Noble had planned to list its smaller Asian-centric thermal coal business but this was thrown into doubt last week after a joint investigation announced by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) of the Singapore Police, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the city-state’s central bank, and the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).
Noble said it had agreed with its main creditors and banks to extend the restructuring deadline and aims to complete it by no later than Dec. 11.
The company, whose shares were suspended from trading from Nov. 19 due to the restructuring, reiterated that it was co-operating fully with the authorities in their investigation.
Reporting by Anshuman Daga in SINGAPORE; Additional reporting by Nikhil Subba in BENGALURU; Editing by Joseph Radford and Richard Pullin