Noble Group asks investors to have confidence in company

SINGAPORE (REUTERS) - The chairman of Noble Group Ltd asked investors on Thursday (June 11) to have "a little confidence" in the Asian commodities trader as it tries to boost its market value after it came under attack for its accounting practices.

This is the first time Mr Richard Elman, chairman and the largest shareholder of Hong Kong-based firm, made a public comment since categorically denying any wrong-doing at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in April. 

"I would only ask you one thing: have a little confidence and patience in us," Mr Elman, who is also the biggest shareholder in the company, wrote in a letter to employees and shareholders.

"We will use all our best efforts to recover the share value."

Shares in Singapore-listed Noble have fallen about 40 per cent since mid-February after a research firm questioned its accounting practices.  

Singapore’s OCBC Investment Research cut its price target on the stock to S$0.61 from S$1.05, the lowest among the 12 analysts’ forecasts tracked by Thomson Reuters. It maintained the “hold” rating.  

It will take time for the company to regain the market’s confidence even, and a generally weaker outlook for commodities is weighing on the sentiment, OCBC analyst Carey Wong wrote in a report.  

Mr Elman said the company has been working vigorously behind the scenes to protect the interests of employees and shareholders. “We are starting to make progress,” he wrote, without elaborating.  

Noble’s share price dipped to a fresh six-year low of S$0.63 earlier in the day, before a strong rebound pushed it up as much as 11 per cent from Wednesday’s closing.