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Noble rushes forward quarterlies in bid to quash share rout

Singapore-listed Noble Group is bringing forward its second quarter results announcement in a bid to halt its sliding share price. The Hong Kong-based commodities giant suffered its worst month on the Singapore Exchange in July as it fought off allegations against its accounting practices. Its share price was down 40% in July by the end of last week.

The company said in a statement today it was not aware of any financial or material business issues that might have caused the company’s recent share price decline and volatility. It added that the board has become aware of what it labelled “misleading information” being spread about the company in what it said appears to be an attempt to manipulate the company’s share price.

As a result, Noble has brought forward its Q2 results to August 10. On the same day it will also show the findings from a recent investigation by PwC into the company’s accounting practices.

The choice of date for the release of the quarterlies has raised some eyebrows, given that August 10 is a public holiday in Singapore so the exchange will be shut.

Noble said it would also release more details about the valuation of its holding in Yancoal, an Australian firm that whose valuation by Noble has been at the centre of attacks on the group since this February.

Also in the release today, the board addressed other allegations being made about the company. It said it had the “ample funds” to pay $735m bonds due to mature in August 4.

“Noble has sufficient cash and liquidity to meet its obligations and operate its businesses,” the company said.

Noble also has around $15bn in bank lines, the release noted.

Finally, the board said it has been approached by anumber of parties in terms of potential financings, and strategic and/or investment options.

“Management and the board are committed to maximising the value of Noble for its shareholders and stakeholders,” the company concluded.

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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