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Vitol picks up Noble’s oil division on the cheap

Commodities firm Noble Group has suffered another hit to its finances, failing to make as much money from the sale of its oil division as previously forecast.

Vitol has swooped to take Noble Americas Corp (NAC), the oil division of the embattled Hong Kong group, for just $400m, of which $272m is cash up front. Noble had originally told shareholders last November it expected to sell the oil division for $575m.

In a release Noble cited operating losses at NAC driven by reduced trading operations, as the business was prepared for sale, as the reason for the significantly lower sale figure.

Accused of accounting fraud which it has repeatedly denied, Noble Group has seen its revenues slide in recent years, forcing the sale of many businesses around the world as it fights for survival.

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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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