Noble Group shares plunge for second day on quarterly loss, debt worries

The counter plunged after trading opened to a fresh 15-year low.
The counter plunged after trading opened to a fresh 15-year low.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Shares in mainboard-listed Noble Group sank for a second straight day after it warned of a big quarterly loss.

The counter plunged 20 per cent after markets opened on Friday (May 12) hit a session low of 61 Singapore cents before trading down 22 per cent at 68 Singapore cents as of 2:30pm, a fresh 15-year low.

Noble shares plunged 32.4 per cent to 87.5 cents on Thursday. Last month, Noble undertook a 10-for-1 share consolidation to avoid penny stock status.

After markets closed on Thursday, Noble reported a loss of US$129.3 million (S$182 million) for the first quarter ended March 2017 and said it might not be profitable until 2019. The commodity trader had issued a profit warning late on Tuesday.

"Noble Group posted a loss in its core business and we question if the remaining business lines support the company's US$3.3 billion of net debt now that the lucrative US gas and power business has been sold and oil market volatility has died down," Andy DeVries, an analyst at CreditSights was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Noble's bond prices also took a hit, with notes due 2022 down 16 points on Friday to a price of 54/57 cents on the dollar, Reuters reported. The prices have fallen about 40 points since Tuesday.

Noble on Thursday also appointed independent non-executive director Paul Brough as its new chairman to take charge of reviewing strategic alternatives for the company. He replaces founder Richard Elman who will now take on a non-executive role as chairman emeritus.