Noble to sell four vessels for $127.8m to further pare debt

Beleaguered commodity trader Noble Group has proposed selling four freight vessels to help reduce debt - a move that comes just one day after Iceberg Research issued another fresh attack on the group.

The firm said the disposal is part of the debt reduction plans and strategic review announced in July.

The sale of the four Kamsarmax dry bulk carriers will be payable in cash on closing.

Noble expects about US$95 million (S$127.8 million) for the vessels but repayment of bank loans and other costs will leave net proceeds of about US$30 million.

Said Nobel: "The vessels are currently mortgaged to financial institutions and part of the proceeds from the proposed disposal will be used by Noble Group to pay down the amounts owed under such facilities."

The proposed disposal of the vessels is subject to approval by Noble shareholders, and also by the board of directors of each of the buyers.

The vessel sale is expected to close between March 10 and May 31 next year.

Noble expects about US$95 million (S$127.8 million) for the vessels but repayment of bank loans and other costs will leave net proceeds of about US$30 million.

Noble said it operates the vessels as part of its freight business, and the disposal will not significantly impact this.

This business segment services external customers, as well as the group's internal freight requirements, with ocean transport in the dry bulk segment.

Yesterday, Noble called for a special general meeting on Dec 15 to obtain approval for the proposed disposal of its Americas-focused oil liquids business, Noble Americas Corp.

The shares closed up one cent or 6.8 per cent at 15.7 cents yesterday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2017, with the headline 'Noble to sell four vessels for $127.8m to further pare debt'. Print Edition | Subscribe