A Chinese conglomerate has expressed interest in buying control of the troubled commodity trader Noble Group, Bloomberg reports, citing people familiar with the matter.
Cedar Holdings Group, the largest private company in Guangzhou province, has reportedly approached Noble shareholders amid attempts to restructure the trader’s US$3.5 billion debts before a coupon payment falls due on Jan. 29, the people said.
But Bloomberg suggested that any prospective investor would probably want to wait for the outcome of the restructuring, including a possible dilution of shares, before committing to a deal.
Noble Group’s shares surged as much as 37 percent on the news of an interested buyer, prompting a query from Singapore Exchange Ltd., where its stock is listed.
Noble said it “has previously announced it is in talks, which continue, with various potential strategic parties and its creditors”, adding that the discussions “are open and constructive, and are moving forward”.
Cedar is the largest private company in Guangzhou and ranks 16th nationwide, recording 157 billion yuan (US$24.5 billion) in sales in 2016, according to its website.
Its businesses include commodities trading, chemicals, tourism, real estate and finance.
The firm controls two listed companies: Zibo Qixiang Tengda Chemical Co. Ltd. (002408.CN) and Sinoer Men’s Wear Co. Ltd. (002485.CN).
Noble must pay US$39.7 million of interest due on Jan. 29 on its bonds maturing 2020, Bloomberg said. It also has bonds due in 2018 and 2022.
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