Noble gets $135m lifeline from shareholder group

Consortium also commits to vote in favour of trader's restructuring

Commodity trader Noble Group has secured a binding commitment for US$100 million (S$135 million) of trade finance facilities from a consortium of existing shareholders, it announced before the market opened yesterday.

The consortium comprises Value Partners, Pinpoint Asset Management and other shareholders with a combined equity interest of 5 per cent.

They have also irrevocably agreed to vote their interests in favour of Noble Group's restructuring plan.

The extension of the additional US$100 million of three-year trade finance facilities is subject to the execution of final documentation.

Noble said the finance facilities will allow it to expand its trading activities, particularly in high-growth opportunities in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry.

In exchange for the facilities, the consortium will receive US$7.5 million of new asset company bonds, US$7.5 million of new trading company bonds, US$10 million of new trading holding company bonds and an arrangement fee of US$5 million as Noble undergoes a restructuring exercise.

Noble said that around US$7.5 million of new asset company bonds that were to be issued to existing senior creditors will be re-allocated to this consortium.

These senior creditors will be issued an additional US$7.5 million in new trading company bonds.

That will raise the total amount of new trading company bonds to US$700 million and the total amount of new trading holding company bonds to US$270 million.

The members of the consortium will also be offered US$25 million of new perpetual securities with a non-accumulative dividend of 2.5 per cent in exchange of about US$400 million perpetual securities they now hold.

Noble said it is working towards launching a scheme of arrangement now that creditors representing about 85 per cent of its senior claims have acceded to its restructuring support agreement.

Noble shares closed up 3.7 cents or 36 per cent at 14.1 cents yesterday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2018, with the headline 'Noble gets $135m lifeline from shareholder group'. Subscribe