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Elman returns at New Noble

Richard Elman is back in the boardroom, just over three weeks after he had stepped down at embattled commodities trader Noble Group.

The Hong Kong-based firm has announced a new restructuring plan today which will give shareholders 15% in aggregate of the equity in New Noble, the new vehicle emerging from the ashes of the company Elman founded in 1986.

Noble has been on the ropes financially over the last three years. Elman resigned from the board of the troubled company on March 21 this year after it emerged he and other senior executives are being sued by a major shareholder.

Elman, 77, built Noble into one of the world’s largest commodities houses before it was rocked by allegations of accounting fraud, which it has consistently denied. In the last couple of years, Singapore-listed Noble’s market cap has dwindled drastically.

In the latest twist to the Noble saga, in a release today the company revealed Elman will be appointed as an executive director to the board of New Noble.

Elman commented: “Having founded Noble over 30 years ago, the last three years have been particularly difficult for the company and for me personally. The revised structure granting shareholders 15% equity in New Noble has my full support. Under the circumstances, I believe the allocation of 15% is fair to all shareholders and I hope that others will vote in favour of the revised proposal as I have agreed to. The amended restructuring plan will enable management to rebuild our business around the core Asian trading franchise that has demonstrated incredible resilience during this most challenging period in our company’s history. I am confident in our management team, they have shown great loyalty and resolve in protecting our core businesses and I look forward to supporting the re-build and growth of New Noble in any way I can.”

Among a host of changes announced surrounding New Noble there is a strong chance the company will move its headquarters from Hong Kong to the UK.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


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