Singapore-listed Noble Group share price plunges; trading halted

23 May 2017 07:04 Source:ICIS News

Shipping containers in Hong Kong terminal 22 May

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SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Hong Kong-based commodities trader Noble Group saw its share price plunge in the Singapore bourse in just 36 minutes of trade on Tuesday morning, prompting a trading halt.

The company’s shares, which are listed on the Singapore Exchange (SGX), fell to as low as Singapore dollar (S$) 0.400, a 32% loss from the previous day, before slightly recovering to S$0.420, when the trading halt took effect.

Noble Group was the most actively traded stock on the SGX, with volumes of transactions at more than 79m, bourse data showed. The request for trading halt was made at 9:36 Singapore time (01:36 GMT).

Noble Group’s shares tumbled following a credit ratings downgrade by S&P Global Ratings and a report by newswire agency Reuters on Monday night that China’s state-owned Sinochem is no longer pursuing an investment in the Singapore-listed firm on concerns over the commodities firm’s earnings prospects.

S&P lowered its long-term corporate credit rating for Noble Group to CCC+ from B+, citing a risk of debt default by the company in the next 12 months, according to media reports.

On 11 May, Noble Group reported a first-quarter net loss of $129.5m, reversing a net profit of $40.5m made in the previous corresponding period even as revenues increased 10% to $12.6bn.

Meanwhile, Noble Group had said in February this year that it was in talks with a potential investor, which it did not name.

Reuters had reported then that China’s oil, gas and petrochemical firm Sinochem was the prospective investor in Noble.

The commodities trading firm is hoping to rejig its business units, cut debts and boost liquidity to fight a long-term downtrend in commodity prices.

In December 2016, it completed the sale of its subsidiary – Noble Americas Energy Solutions (NEAS) to US-based Calpine Corp.

Top picture: Shipping containers at the Kwai Tsing Terminal in Hong Kong (Photographer: Jerome Favre/EPA/REX/Shutterstock)

By Pearl Bantillo