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Embattled Noble Group's shares set to slump on weak outlook
May 11, 2017 / 12:37 AM / in 7 months

Embattled Noble Group's shares set to slump on weak outlook

SINGAPORE, May 11 (Reuters) - Shares in Singapore-listed Noble Group Ltd are set to fall after a profit warning by the struggling commodity trader stoked worries that its recovery from a deep restructuring could take longer than expected.

The Hong Kong-headquartered company, which reports first-quarter results after close of trading on Thursday, cited a challenging operating environment in its profit warning on Tuesday night and said it was caught out by movements in coal prices.

The company has been seeking to rebuild investor confidence after harsh setbacks two years ago, when a commodities downturn and a questioning of its accounts by Iceberg Research triggered a share price collapse, credit rating downgrades and a series of writedowns and asset sales.

Noble, which has stood by its accounts, appointed two new co-CEOs last year after its CEO quit. The company’s shares are still down about 85 percent from February 2015.

It warned of a net loss of about $130 million in the three months ending March, the weakest result in more than two years excluding a writedown of over a billion dollars reported in Oct-Dec 2015, which led to big losses.

At its shareholder meeting in Singapore last month, some shareholders cast doubt on Noble’s prospects given its weak share performance, but Chairman Richard Elman repeatedly said the company had taken tough decisions and would begin to show a recovery later this year.

Noble is now mainly focused on oil liquids and energy coal businesses, and is cutting debt and taking steps to improve liquidity. (Reporting by Anshuman Daga; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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