China's Cedar interested in buying Noble Group: report

Noble Group looks to raise $2.5 billion to refinance debt
The company logo of Noble Group is displayed at its office in Hong Kong, China January 22, 2016. Reuters

Chinese conglomerate Cedar Holdings Group has expressed interest in buying commodities trader Noble Group, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

Cedar has made an informal approach to some major Noble Group shareholders, although no formal talks have started, the report said citing people with knowledge of the matter.

Shares in the embattled commodities trader Noble Group jumped as much as 40 percent to S$0.28 on the Singapore Exchange on Monday. About 7.2 million shares changed hands by afternoon trades compared to a 30-day average of 9 million shares.

The recent surge in share prices prompted the Singapore Exchange to issue a query to the company regarding its trading activity. Noble said it remained in talks with 'various potential strategic parties' and that nothing has been finalised yet..

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Noble has been forced to shrink its business, exiting loss-making and non-core operations in order to survive.

The Hong Kong-based firm last week completed the sale of Noble American oil business to Vitol U.S. Holdings about $580 million.

Noble announced the surprise departure of its co-Chief Executive Jeff Frase last year, just days after it reported a third-quarter loss of $1.17 billion and warned that the operating environment remains challenging.

The trader's market capitalization, which once topped $10 billion, has shrunk to $260 million.

This article was first published on January 22, 2018