Date
23 October 2017
Noble Group says repositioning initiative is nearly complete after reporting its first annual loss in almost 20 years. Photo: Reuters
Noble Group says repositioning initiative is nearly complete after reporting its first annual loss in almost 20 years. Photo: Reuters

Noble posts first annual loss in 20 years on huge writedown

Noble Group Ltd., Asia’s biggest commodity trader, posted its first annual loss in almost two decades after a US$1.9 billion writedown.

The net loss was US$1.7 billion last year compared with a profit of US$132 million in 2014, Bloomberg reports, citing a filing by the Hong Kong-based company.

Noble, which needs to renew a US$1.2 billion revolving credit facility that matures in May, has agreed with a number banks on new credit arrangements, chief executive Yusuf Alireza said.

It said it will refinance debt before the deadline.

The full-year loss marked a turbulent 12 months for the group that saw its shares collapse and debt rating cut to junk by two agencies.

The trader has been hammered by the commodities plunge and criticism of its accounting — all denied by the Singapore-listed company — that included the valuations of its long-term contracts.

It’s set to complete the sale of a stake in Noble Agri Ltd. to Cofco Corp. for US$750 million next month.

“Our repositioning initiatives are largely finished,” Alireza said in a statement.

“The imminent receipt of US$750 million from the agri sale adds to our flexibility and, with the expected successful completion of the re-financing of our revolver.”

The stock fell 1.5 percent to 33.5 Singapore cents on Thursday before the earnings statement.

It has lost 68 percent in the past 12 months, leaving the company with a market value of S$2.19 billion (US$1.56 billion).

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