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Key Noble shareholder attacks top management

One of the largest shareholders in Noble Group has renewed its attack on the embattled commodities trader.

Abu Dhabi-based investment fund Goldilocks Investment Company has lodged a rejection letter with Noble Group regarding all director candidates put forward by Noble for re-election at the Noble annual general meeting scheduled for April 30.

Goldilocks said in a release that it was continuing its fight for the rights of shareholders and to encourage the board of directors of Noble to “redesign and reorient the highly prejudicial and coercive restructuring plan” that Noble, through its current directors, has agreed with creditors.

Goldilocks, which earlier this year launched a legal suit against Noble, said the current chairman of the Hong Kong company Paul Brough had subjected Noble to a “private liquidation”.

“Assets have been sold at substantial discounts, the much-needed cash proceeds paid to friendly creditors on a dollar for dollar basis and huge compensation paid to management and fees paid to their chosen advisers. While doing so, Mr. Brough at all times proclaimed that Noble was a going concern,” Goldilocks claimed, adding: “Having driven Noble to the brink of insolvency, Mr. Brough recently proclaimed that the creditors are the economic owners of Noble and he has now handed Noble to the creditors under the Plan.”

Goldilocks has urged all shareholders to join it in opposing the restructuring plan by voting against Noble’s director candidates.

Goldilocks has prosposed its own list of director nominees who hail from Abu Dhabi and Singapore.

In concluding, Goldilocks claimed: “The letter dated 18 April 2018 issued by Mr Brough to Noble stakeholders is riddled with assumptions and inaccuracies. Most alarmingly, Mr Brough continues to threaten shareholders with insolvency proceedings. Goldilocks will not buckle under these threats and a full critique of Mr Brough’s assumptions and inaccuracies will follow.”

Brough, a British-born former KPMG executive, was appointed chairman of Noble 11 months ago as the company’s stock and bonds plummeted. The Hong Kong restructuring veteran’s most recent jobs include liquidating Lehman Brothers’s assets in Asia, running what emerged from the bankruptcy of plantation developer Sino-Forest Corp, and restructuring failed fishmeal supplier China Fishery Group.

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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