Noble says to get US$750m in cash from Noble Agri disposal on March 3

The company logo of Noble Group is displayed at its office in Hong Kong, China in this Jan 22, 2016 file photo.
The company logo of Noble Group is displayed at its office in Hong Kong, China in this Jan 22, 2016 file photo. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Noble Group is set to complete the disposal of its stake in Noble Agri and receive US$750 million in cash on March 3, the commodity firm announced in a filing to Singapore Exchange on Thursday (Feb 25).

Noble said the sale of its remaining 49 per cent stake in the loss making agribusiness to China's Cofco International has become wholly unconditional.

First announced last December, the disposal will help Noble repay its debt and give it a much needed liquidity boost.

Selling Noble Agri will also remove a constant earnings drag and allow the group to explore other growth opportunities, Noble chief executive Yusuf Alireza has said.

But the deal will also incur a non-cash loss of US$546 million to account for the decline in the asset's value.

Noble is scheduled to announce its fourth quarter and full year results later on Thursday.

On Tuesday, Noble warned of a net loss in the fourth quarter and for full-year 2015, after taking a US$1.2 billion hit from adjustments to reflect weak coal prices.

In the backdrop, the company's war of words with Iceberg Research continues. The anonymous outfit, which has issued several scathing reports to criticise Noble's governance and accounting, latched on to the profit warning and renewed its attack.

"Any commodity specialist will find the reasons given to justify the impairment absurd. Noble has just admitted their forward curves were far too aggressive 48 hours before they issue their annual results," Iceberg said in an email to the media earlier this week.