Noble Group warns of $183m Q1 net loss

Its share price has plunged more than 80 per cent since the start of 2015.
Its share price has plunged more than 80 per cent since the start of 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

In the latest blow to investors, commodity trader Noble Group has warned that it is likely to record a net loss of about US$130 million (S$183 million) for the first quarter.

In an exchange filing late on Tuesday night, the company cited a "challenging" operating environment exacerbated by a "dislocation" in coal markets during the three months to March 31.

The Hong Kong-headquartered group said in its filing that it has "taken measures to realign its portfolio to mitigate against the continuation and repeat of such events".

Its cost-reduction initiatives have also made significant progress, it added.

The loss comes after two challenging years for the company, which was once Asia's largest independent commodity trader.

Its share price has plunged more than 80 per cent since the start of 2015, when its troubles started after its accounting practices and need to pay down debts were questioned by a group called Iceberg Research. This led to a startling collapse in its share price and stoked rating agencies' downgrades.

Noble has stood by its accounts.

  • >80%

    Extent to which Noble Group's share price has plunged since the start of 2015.

The company raised US$750 million from the sale of junk bonds in March. Shareholders also backed a 10-to-one share consolidation at the end of last month.

The group is expected to announce its first-quarter results today. "In the meantime, shareholders and investors are advised to exercise caution when dealing in the shares of the company," it said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2017, with the headline 'Noble Group warns of $183m Q1 net loss'. Print Edition | Subscribe