Noble Group rejects Goldilocks' request for non-disclosure waiver as shareholder spat escalates

The company logo of Noble Group is displayed at its office in Hong Kong, China. REUTERS

Commodities trader Noble Group on Monday rejected a request by one of its biggest shareholders to waive the non-disclosure arrangements around their earlier discussions.

Abu Dhabi-based Goldilocks Investment Company, which owns 8.1 percent of Noble, had requested a release from Noble's non disclosure agreement after accusing the group of taking one of their conversations out of context in the company's announcement on January 31.

Goldilocks said that the January 31 announcement "suggests that Goldilocks tried to take advantage of Noble's financial situation by demanding two board seats on Noble's board as a precondition to any restructuring or investment options."

But Noble denied the allegations stating that nothing in the announcement referred to Goldilocks trying to take advantage of the company's financial situation.

The Hong Kong-based firm also declined to release Goldilocks from its non-disclosure agreement.

"In view of the extensive and confidential information shared with Goldilocks under the non disclosure agreement, the board is not aware of any reason that would justify Goldilocks' release from non disclosure of confidential information and therefore has not acceded to Goldilocks' request," Noble said in a regulatory filing.

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It also provided further details regarding the sales of its assets, in response to Goldilocks' letter on January 29.

The company said these disposals were undertaken in "distressed circumstances, characterised by a relatively short time in which the Group was required to complete the sale of complex assets."

Noble added that both the sale processes of Noble Americas Corp (NAC) and Noble Americas Gas and Power Corp (NAGP) were "competitive processes conducted over several months" and were subject to oversight and reporting by financial advisers.

"The company believes it is inappropriate to discuss, in a public forum, its disposals over the last two years, all of which have complied with the listing rules and applicable laws," it added.

The Securities Investors Association Singapore, minority investor advocacy group, on Sunday said they met with Noble Chairman Paul Brough on Friday, who said the board "remain committed to an open and ongoing dialogue with shareholders".

This article was first published on February 5, 2018