Date
23 November 2017
Chief executive Yusuf Alireza acknowledged that Noble, as a public company, must increase its transparency. Photo: Bloomberg
Chief executive Yusuf Alireza acknowledged that Noble, as a public company, must increase its transparency. Photo: Bloomberg

Noble vows greater transparency, defends accounting methods

Noble Group has pledged greater transparency as it sought to discredit a little-known research group that accused the Asian commodities trader of improper accounting methods.

Shares in the Singapore-listed company have dropped 16 percent since Iceberg Research published a report last month alleging Noble had overstated the value of long-term commodity contracts and investments and improperly recorded profits, the Financial Times reported.

In an 11-page report, published on Thursday, Noble said the allegations were the work of a disgruntled junior employee it fired a year-and-a-half ago.

It said the former credit analyst had told a member of the staff a year ago he was working with short sellers to “blow up the company”.

Last week Noble reported its first quarterly loss in more than three years after recording more than US$400 million of impairment charges, write-offs and provisions.

The charges included a US$200 million loss on its stake in Yancoal Australia. Iceberg had charged that Noble had overstated the value of associate companies, including Yancoal.

“Most of our competitors are private and release very little public information, but our experience over the last two weeks is a strong message, that as a public company, we need to accelerate down our current path of increased transparency,” said chief executive Yusuf Alireza, who also said he has purchased Noble shares worth US$3.7 million.

Denying that it had incorrectly recorded profits, Noble said it “does not book 100 percent of the value of long-dated deals on day one”.

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RA/CG

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