Noble agrees to swop Australian miner's notes for cash, shares and options

File photo showing the logo of Noble Group at an event in 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Noble Group has agreed to stand down as a noteholder of debt-ridden Australia-listed miner Sundance Resources, the Singapore-listed commodities trader said in a bourse filing on Tuesday morning (Sept 25).

The convertible notes, which are held by a wholly owned Noble subsidiary, had a face value of A$32 million (S$31.7 million). They have been fully impaired and will be cancelled by Sundance under an agreement reached on Monday with the Australian miner's other noteholders.

Noble Resources International Pte Ltd will instead get a package valued at A$27.6 million for the cancellation of the notes.

This is made up of A$11.9 million in cash, as well as 475.8 million new Sundance shares and 2.38 billion options that could represent a further stake of up to 9.7 per cent if exercised.

Sundance plans to fund the debt swop with proceeds from a share placement to Australia-listed Aust-Sino Resources Group.

Noble said that the transaction does not affect its own planned debt restructuring, as the consideration would be among the assets to be sold and transferred to the new corporate entity in that restructuring.

It added that the cash proceeds from the transaction "will be used for general corporate purposes".

In its filing, Noble said that the rationale for the transaction was because it "satisfies the relevant notes owed to (Noble Resources International) by Sundance, as well as to allow the company to further consolidate its shareholding interests in Sundance".

"The noteholders are also supportive of the need to restructure the balance sheet of Sundance in order to attract new investments to fund Sundance's iron ore project," it added.

Noble Resources International first subscribed for Sundance notes in 2013. It also has arrangements for the right to at least half of all iron products from Sundance's Central African Mbalam-Naeba iron ore project in the first 10 years of production - a deal that Noble said will "continue unaffected".

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