Noble Group swings to annual loss of $1.67 bln

chief executive Yusuf Alireza says Noble is making progress on its revolving credit facility.

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Noble Group warns of Q4 loss, $1.2 bln impairment on commodities slump
Noble Group founder and Chairman Richard Elman poses at his office in Hong Kong, China January 22, 2016.

Noble Group has reported $1.67 billion loss for 2015, its first annual loss in almost two decades.

The commodity trader, which was battered by a $1.2 billion writedown on weak coal prices, said it will have to refinance its debt ahead of schedule.

In 2014 the group ha reported net profit of $132 million. The Singapore-listed firm had warned two days ago it could book a net loss for the fourth quarter as well as a $1.2 billon non-cash impairment due to a coal and commodity price slump.

The shares of Noble, one the world's largest traders of commodities, have lost nearly 70 percent following the accounting scandal. It was alleged that the company had inflated its assets by billions of dollars, a claim Noble rejected.

Asia's biggest commodities trader had also cut its long-term view on coal prices.

In a conference call with analysts after the results, chief executive Yusuf Alireza said Noble was making progress on its revolving credit facility, which expires in May.

"We have $2.2 billion of a revolver. Clearly we have approved the term sheet to a number of our core banks and we will be moving towards the refinancing of the revolver," Alireza said.

However, S&P said the loss could the group's refinancing bid difficult, while Moody's cut its corporate rating and senior unsecured bond ratings to Ba3 from Ba1.

In December, Standard & Poor's and Moody's had cut Noble's investment grade ratings to junk following an accounting scandal.

Alireza, however, said the ratings downgrades had 'no impact at all" on efforts to secure financing.

This article was first published on February 26, 2016