Noble issues rebuttal against accusations of accounting fraud

SINGAPORE - Noble Group has issued a rebuttal against accusations that it has made use of accounting loopholes to inflate profits and hide losses, after its shares were battered for a second day.

The commodity player's shares, which declined 8 per cent on Monday, fell another six cents, or 5.4 per cent, o Tuesday to $1.05.

The trigger was a report issued on Sunday by a little-known research firm, Iceberg Research, which criticised some of Noble's accounting methods and compared the firm with Enron, the American energy firm which notoriously collapsed in 2001 after admitting to accounting fraud.

In its rebuttal posted on the Singapore Exchange website after the market closed yesterday, Noble questioned Iceberg's timing and intention, and defended its accounting practices.

"If their intention, as claimed in the report, was to highlight supposed deficiencies in our accounting principles for the benefit of investors, it would have been normal to approach the group to discuss their concerns, rather than publishing a report of this kind shortly before our annual results announcement and just before a holiday period."

Noble added: "The group reports its results in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards, and the annual financial statements for 2013 and prior years have been audited by Ernst & Young who issued unqualified opinions."