ENERGY & OFFSHORE | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Authorities start probe on Noble's disclosure and accounting practices

Suspected breaches were found in its financial statements for 2012 to 2016.

Authorities are now jointly investigating Noble Group’s suspected false and misleading statements and breaches of disclosure requirements under the Securities and Futures Act, as well as non-compliance with accounting standards under Section 201 of the Companies Act by its subsidiary Noble Resources International (NRI).

A statement filed by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) of the Singapore Police Force (SPF), the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), and the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) said that ACRA has made findings of suspected breaches of the Companies Act and required Noble’s directors to supply information to the ongoing investigation.

This follows an extensive review of the financial statements of NRI for the financial years ended 31 December 2012 to 31 December 2016, the authorities said.

CAD and MAS have also directed Noble Group and NRI to produce documents relating to the preparation of Noble Group’s financial statements, following a thorough review of other relevant information, including the information referred to the authorities by the Singapore Exchange Regulation Pte Ltd and other third parties.

"The company and NRIPL intend to cooperate fully with the authorities in their investigation. In particular, NRIPL intends to provide its views to ACRA on ACRA’s assessments set out in its letter," Noble said in a separate announcement.

After a tedious process of convincing creditors and shareholders to support its restructuring scheme, Noble could be approaching the conclusion of its downfall. Creditors that want to risk participate in the portion of the US$625m new money debt are currently being required to submit a risk participation election notice.

It also has formed Noble Intermediate Hold Co Limited in the British Virgin Islands which will hold New Noble’s interests in its assets and subsidiaries following the completion of the proposed restructuring. 

"The company remains of the view that its proposed restructuring is in the best interests of all of the company’s stakeholders, including its creditors and shareholders. It will continue to work towards implementing its proposed restructuring within the previously disclosed timelines," Noble added.

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