Noble gets key waiver for restructuring bid extended

Noble, once Asia's biggest commodity trader, has warned that if the restructuring fails, it would begin insolvency proceedings, likely in Britain.
Noble, once Asia's biggest commodity trader, has warned that if the restructuring fails, it would begin insolvency proceedings, likely in Britain.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Noble Group has been given a second time extension for a condition key to its restructuring, the troubled commodities trader said on Wednesday morning (Dec 12).

This follows its Tuesday night announcement that it will apply to the Bermudian court for a hearing on Dec 14 for a court-ordered administration in Bermuda to complete the restructuring of the company into New Noble after Singapore authorities last week barred Noble from re-listing the restructured entity because of an on-going probe into suspected improper accounting.

The Securities Industry Council has granted an extension till Dec 31 for Noble to rely on the whitewash resolution approved by shareholders at an Aug 27 special general meeting, in view of the additional time needed due to the court application. This key waiver was initially due to expire on Nov 27 and was already extended once till Dec 11. It allows the restructuring deal to go ahead without Noble's creditors - who are due to take control of the company - being forced to make a buyout offer for its shares.

However, the schemes of arrangement provide that the furthest the date can be pushed back is until Dec 31, with the agreement of Noble and its creditors.

Noble said on Tuesday that it anticipates that, subject to the order being made by the Bermuda court on Dec 14, the restructuring effective date will occur on Dec 18. As a result of the restructuring of Noble, existing shareholders of the company would still have a total of 20 per cent of shares in New Noble allocated to them under the current restructuring plan - even though Singapore regulators have not allowed Noble's listing status to be transferred to New Noble.

Noble, once Asia's biggest commodity trader, has warned that if the restructuring fails, it would begin insolvency proceedings, likely in Britain.