Noble gets in-principle nod for 3-year US$700m loan; warns of Q4, full-year 2017

A Noble Group sign pictured at a meet-the-investors event in Singapore. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Noble Group said on Monday (Feb 19) it had reached an in-principle agreement with the group's senior creditors, or "ad hoc group", and fronting bank ING for the provision of a three-year US$700 million ($918 million) trade finance facility.

The ad hoc group represents holders of about 36 per cent of Noble's existing senior debt instruments. Advisers of this ad hoc group are also in contact with creditors who hold an additional 15 per cent of Noble's existing senior debt instruments, and have indicated their broad support for a restructuring of the group's liabilities, Noble said.

"Restructuring discussions with stakeholders continue to be productive as the group moves towards launching the Restructuring Support Agreement (RSA) for the holders of the existing senior debt instruments. The RSA forms the basis for the completion of a restructuring of the group's debts," the commodity trader said.

"Given the status of restructuring discussions with the ad hoc group in reaching agreement on the RSA, and the trade finance facilities presently provided by the group's banks, the board is, on balance and on the basis of legal advice, satisfied that the group can continue as a going concern, until such time as the restructuring is completed."

Separately, Noble warned of a net loss for the three months, and full year ended Dec 31 last year (2017).

The group is expecting a fourth-quarter net loss in the range of US$1.7 billion to US$1.9 billion; and a full-year net loss of between US$4.8 billion and US$5 billion.

This comprises an adjusted net loss from continuing hard commodities, freight and LNG operations of between US$50 million and US$100 million; net loss from the discontinued global oil liquids and North American gas & power operations in the range of US$225 to US$275 million; as well as exceptional items - including significant non-cash mark to market losses due to reserves and adjustments - resulting in a loss of between US$1.45 billion and US$1.55 billion."

Operating conditions continued to be challenging in the fourth quarter of financial year 2017 as the group continued to manage the business within existing constraints in trade finance and liquidity availability. The focus during the quarter was on concluding its asset disposal programme and moving forward with the debt restructuring proposal, Noble said.

The group's consolidated financial statements for the year ended Dec 31 will be released on Feb 28.

Noble's shares ended trading at $0.196 on Friday, down 0.5 per cent, or 0.1 cent.

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