Anonymous researcher Iceberg urges Noble's creditors to reject debt-for-equity swap deal

Noble Group
Noble Group Logo. Reuters

Noble Group's long-time foe Iceberg Research urged creditors to reject the debt-for-equity swap after Debtwire reported that the commodities trader had reached an agreement to restructure its US$3.5 billion debt.

Noble's Chairman on Thursday declined to confirm the media report regarding the proposed agreement but said the company is in talks with creditors to restructure its debt and negotiation have been "constructive" and are moving forward.

In an open letter to Noble's creditors on January 27, Iceberg said, "We fail to understand why creditors who rank higher than equity holders need to share the residual value of this company with the few people who caused their loss."

Noble urged creditors to use the threat of liquidation, which would mean that for the first time specialists from outside the company would have access to internal documents, emails, correspondence with the auditor, etc.

"Noble's secrets will inevitably rise to the surface and make litigation for fraud even easier."

Iceberg Research, which doesn't identify its analysts, has been sparring with the Hong Kong-based company for more than two years, accusing the group of inflating its assets through accounting malpractices.

Also Read: China's Cedar interested in buying Noble Group

Noble has stood by its accounts and have rejected the claims by Iceberg, saying they're the work of a disgruntled ex-employee it had fired.

Singapore-listed Noble Group, which commenced its strategic review last year, has been forced to shrink its business, exiting loss-making and non-core operations in order to survive.

The company has taken massive write-downs and sold assets at a loss to raise funds amid a liquidity squeeze, while at the same time attempting to get creditors to agree to restructure $3.5 billion in bonds and loans.

Noble has reached an agreement with its creditors to restructure its debt, Debtwire reported on Thursday, citing sources it did not identify.

Last week, Bloomberg reported that Chinese conglomerate Cedar Holdings Group has expressed interest in buying commodities trader Noble Group.

This article was first published on January 29, 2018