All resolutions at Noble's AGM pass without a hitch

Noble Group's annual general meeting held this morning saw all 12 resolutions being approved without a hitch despite the backdrop of allegations of dodgy accounting practices.

In fact, the adoption of last year's financial report received 99.92 per cent of votes. Despite criticism of the board's independence as several of its directors have served for many years, directors Ms Irene Lee and Mr Robert Chan were re-elected with over 97 per cent of votes.

The AGM comes as the commodity firm has been under attack by research firm Iceberg Research, which has launched criticisms of Noble's accounting and governance practices. Shortseller Muddy Waters joined the fray earlier this month, announcing its move to short Noble.

Some 250 shareholders attended the largely uneventful AGM which was over in under two hours.

During the AGM, Mr Elman and chief executive Yusuf Alireza again rubbished the claims of the research firms, urging shareholders to keep faith in the company as it looks to get back on growth track this year.

However, some shareholders were frustrated by what they saw as a defensive attitude shown by chairman and founder Mr Richard Elman when answering shareholder questions.

When a shareholder tried to question how Noble came up with the valuation of minority owned investment Yancoal - which was flagged by Iceberg as evidence of an investment that has been overstated in the books - Mr Elman declined to answer, saying that the question did not fall under the meeting resolutions.

This sparked a brief exhange between Mr Elman and veteran investor Mr Mano Sabnani, who stood up to criticise Mr Elman as being "unnecessarily defensive".

"Why not let the gentleman ask the question? Why are you so uptight?" he pressed. The exchange drew a round of applause from the shareholders. The question was then addressed by Mr Alireza.

After the AGM, several shareholders also expressed their dissatisfaction.

Mr Ma, 65, told the Straits Times that he also found Mr Elman to be defensive.

"I've never attended any AGM where shareholders were told to not ask question and stick to the resolutions."