By Singapore Newsroom
SINGAPORE (Mar 08) -- Commodities trader Noble Group said Thursday it has received a notice of compliance from Singapore Exchange asking the company to appoint an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) in relation to its proposed debt restructuring.
The exchange has asked the company to appoint an advisor to provide an opinion on whether the proposed restructuring and its resultant allocation of shares are fair and reasonable and not prejudicial to the interest of shareholders. The IFA should have relevant expertise and acceptable to the exchange, it said.
Earlier this year, Noble, which is based in Hong Kong but listed in Singapore, proposed restructuring plan that would leave existing shareholders with just 10% of the company.
Creditors will own 70% of the reconstituted company if they convert half of Noble's $3.5 billion debt into equity, while Noble's management will get up to 20%.
Holders of Noble's $400-million subordinated perpetual securities, a hybrid debt instrument, will be offered new shares worth up to $15 million in value, or 3.75 cents to a dollar.
Once one of Asia's largest commodities trading firms, Noble currently has a market capitalization of around 180 million Singapore dollars ($136.76 million), a fraction of the more than $10 billion valuation it commanded at its peak.
The company's fall from grace began about three years ago when Iceberg Research, whose owners are unknown, started questioning the Hong Kong-based firm's accounting practices. Noble has denied any wrongdoing although it has since written down the value of many of the long-term commodity contracts that Iceberg had said were overvalued.
"Failure to comply with the requirements imposed by the exchange shall be deemed to be a contravention of the listing rules," the SGX statement said.
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