Noble Group posts US$1.2 bln loss in Sept-quarter

Embattled commodity trader Noble Group on Thursday reported a quarterly loss that was in line with the range warned of last month.

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

Embattled commodity trader Noble Group, which has been hammered by two years of attacks on its accounting during a commodity slump, on Thursday reported a quarterly loss that was in line with the range warned of last month.

The Singapore-listed trading house posted a net loss of about US$1.2 billion in the quarter ended September 30.

That compared to a net loss of US$28 million in the corresponding a year ago.

Noble had issued a profit-warning last month, with the Singapore-listed firm guiding a range of US$1.1 billion to US$1.25 billion.

Revenues declined about 18 percent to US$1.4 billion in the third quarter, the company said in a regulatory filing.

The losses resulted both from impairments from asset sales and a further hit from supply chain operations.

The Hong Kong-based group has been battered by a savage downturn in commodity markets and concerns about its accounting.

The company, which commenced its strategic review earlier this year, has been forced to shrink its business, exiting loss-making and non-core operations in order to survive.

Last month, Noble Group agreed to sell its U.S. oil-liquids business to Vitol Group for about $580 million.

The Hong Kong-based company said realisation on the group's portfolio of long-term contracts continues to be adversely impacted by constrained liquidity and access to trade finance lines.

The valuation of long-term coal contracts had been criticized by Iceberg Research, a group that first raised concerns more than two years ago.

Iceberg claims that Noble fabricated profit by inflating the value of its contracts by billions and that the company needs billions from a new investor to repair its balance sheet and reverse its huge operating cash outflow.

Shares in the company ended down 1.8 percent at S$0.27 on the Singapore Exchange on Thursday. Its market capitalisation is now reduced to just over S$360 million from S$6 billion in February 2015.