SINGAPORE - Fund managers of Orbis and Prudential have sold some 42 million shares in Noble Group worth S$5.5 million on the open market from March 14 to 19, filings with the Singapore Exchange on Monday night (March 19) show.
On March 14, Prudential and its subsidiaries sold about 3.36 million shares at 16.9 Singapore cents apiece for a total consideration of S$566,000. This transaction pared Prudential's stake in Noble from 135 million shares, or 10.1 per cent of the firm, to 131 million shares, or 9.9 per cent.
Prudential's subsidiaries that have a deemed interest in Noble include Eastspring Investments (Singapore), Prudential Singapore Holdings, Prudential Corporation Asia, Prudential Holdings and Prudential Corporation Holdings.
Subsequently on March 16, Orbis Allan Gray, Allan & Gill Gray Foundation, Orbis Holdings, as well as Orbis Investment Management, sold 15 million shares worth S$2.1 million at 13.8 Singapore cents apiece. This reduced their interest in Noble from 134 million shares, or 10.1 per cent, to 119 million shares, or 8.9 per cent of the company.
This was followed by another share disposal on March 19 where 12.5 million shares were sold for S$1.4 million, or 11.5 Singapore cents per share, reducing the group's stake further to 8 per cent, or 106 million shares.
Separately, Orbis Investment Management (Hong Kong) has also trimmed its stake in Noble from 9 per cent to 7.4 per cent via two market transactions.
The fund manager sold off 2.8 million shares for S$447,000 at 15.8 Singapore cents apiece on March 15, and another 8.7 million shares worth S$1 million at 11.5 Singapore cents apiece on March 19.
As at 2.51pm on Tuesday, Noble shares were down 7.2 per cent, or 0.8 Singapore cent, to 10.3 Singapore cents apiece. Some 23 million shares exchanged hands.
Shares in the embattled commodities trader plunged almost 20 per cent to 11.1 Singapore cents apiece on Monday - the lowest it has been since 1999, data from Bloomberg shows.
This came following Noble's decision not to pay the principal and interest on a US$379 million bond due on Tuesday, putting the company on course for its first note default.