Noble finalises restructuring agreement with group of senior creditors

Commodities merchant Noble Group has finalised a restructuring agreement with a group of senior creditors holding 46 per cent of its debt and is in talks with others, as it races to launch a deal crucial to its survival.

It has been negotiating a US$3.4 billion (S$4.5 billion) debt-for-equity swap for months, after selling billions of dollars of assets, taking hefty write-downs and cutting jobs over the past three years.

Singapore-listed Noble said it would move its "centre of main interests" from Hong Kong to Britain to support the restructuring.

Noble's Restructuring Support Agreement has been signed by creditors known as the Ad Hoc Group, and the company is seeking support from senior creditor Deutsche Bank and trade finance provider ING Bank, Noble said yesterday.

It said the Ad Hoc Group was in contact with other senior creditors who were holding an additional 15 per cent of claims and had indicated their support.

Noble is seeking to halve its senior debt and hand over 70 per cent of the restructured business to the Ad Hoc Group.

It said existing equity holders could be diluted to 15 per cent, marking an improvement for equity holders from earlier discussions of the deal. Company management could end up owning 15 per cent.

It plans to launch its restructuring this month. - REUTERS