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Noble Group extends key debt deadline

Noble Group yesterday confirmed it had extended a key debt deadline and was in "constructive" talks with potential investors, but the crisis-hit trader also pushed back payment of the coupon on a closely watched bond.

The decision to defer payment of the coupon on its US$400 million (S$555 million) perpetual securities, due June 26, worried investors, who said the failure to pay US$12 million sent a negative signal.

"While non-payment of the perpetual bond coupon will not trigger a default event, it is a further hit to the company's reputation. This is hurting investor confidence," said a Hong Kong-based analyst who declined to be named.

Noble, which has sold billions of dollars in assets over the past two years - from its US energy unit to its agribusiness - said it could sell more and cut costs further to boost liquidity. Its remaining assets and investments are smaller - from vessels used by its logistics business to stakes in Australian and Indonesian coal miners.

Its shares were trading on Monday at 46.5 cents - down from a 2011 peak of around $17.

In a statement yesterday, Noble said its revolving credit facility would be extended by 120 days from June 20, confirming reports from last week. - REUTERS

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