Noble Group strengthens hold on Mongolian market via NMRL stake purchase

An employee is reflected on the wall as she walks past a signage of Noble Resources, a Noble Group subsidiary, at their premises in Singapore. REUTERS

Commodities trader Noble Group said its wholly-owned subsidiary, Noble Resources International has acquired an additional 10 percent stake in Northern Mongolian Railways Ltd (NMRL) for US$1.4 million.

NMRL, a unit of Aspire Mining, is incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, which owns a concession to build, operate and transfer a railway line in Mongolia.

The deal is aimed at strengthening of Noble's position in Mongolian market and its desire to consolidate its shareholding interests in Aspire Mining.

Noble funded the acquisition through the conversion of debt owed to Noble Resources by Ovoot Coking, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aspire Mining, pursuant to a facility agreement between, among others, Aspire, Ovoot and Noble Resources, the company said in a regulatory filing on Thursday.

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In addition, Noble Resources also increased its shareholding in Aspire to 19.9 percent from 18.2 percent. Aspire is incorporated in Australia and is also listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Following the acquisition, Noble Resources' shareholding in NMRL has increased to 20 percent from 10 percent and NMRL has become an associated company of Noble.

Earlier in September, Noble Group sold its 50 percent stake in Mongolia mine joint venture Coalridge to Aspire for US$1 million. Coalridge was a joint venture between Noble and Australia-listed Xanadu Mines, a copper and gold explorer with several projects in Mongolia.

Shares in Noble Group rose 2.5 percent to S$0.20 on the Singapore Exchange. The stock has lost 88 percent in an year.

This article was first published on December 29, 2017