Research group Iceberg says will fire a fourth salvo at Noble Group soon

SINGAPORE - Research outfit Iceberg said it will write a fourth report on Noble Group, claiming that all their arguments against the commodity trader since last year, are "already facts recognised by the market".

It did not say when the fourth report will be published.

Iceberg, an anonymous outfit, had first raised questions about Noble's accounting practises and the way it booked profits on deals long before receiving cash from them, in February last year. Two months later, it urged shareholders to challenge Noble's management on accounting and governance issues at its annual general meeting.

Noble had refuted all allegations, and hired accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to review its accounting methods. PwC concluded that the deals fell within international standards.

In a statement on Wednesday, Iceberg listed eight points of their argument against Noble which have been "partially validated" or "fully validated" within the last year, including the Group's rating and the target price of its shares.

Share price of Singapore-listed Noble has been down 77 per cent since February and the firm has been downgraded by S&P and Moody's from investment grade rating to junk - which Iceberg said were in line with their arguments.

Iceberg noted that its claim of Noble overstating at least US$3.8 billion in fair values is yet to be validated, but has "absolutely no doubt" that this too will be "recognised as fact".

"Most of our arguments are already facts. They are not 'allegations' as we sometimes read,"Iceberg said.

Noble will hold a special general meeting on Thursday to seek shareholders' approval for the sale of its remaining 49 per cent in Noble Agri to Cofco International.

Hong-Kong based Noble is one of the biggest commodity traders in Asia, moving millions of tonnes of coal, iron ore, oil and other commodities around the world.