ENERGY & OFFSHORE | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Iceberg Research slams Noble debt restructuring deal

It urged creditors to "demand tougher conditions" and reject Noble's plan.

Iceberg Research launched another attack against Noble Group Ltd (Noble) after reports of it winning a debt restructuring deal with creditors surfaced.

Singapore Business Review previously reported that the commodities trader won a $3.5b restructuring deal after coming to an agreement with bondholders and lenders in London, but it denied reports and said it is still in talks with creditors.

In a letter to Noble's creditors on 27 January, Iceberg Research said, "This will not be straightforward as their interests strongly diverge. For example, the 2018 bondholders who expected to be repaid in two months are unlikely to like this deal."

The post questioned the set-up of a new company wherein employees would own shares and have the option to increase their stakes.

It cited an agreement Noble made on 22 December with mining companies at the exploration stage and said it has been one of the ways the company created "fictitious profit."

It also said that the people that caused the scandal will remain shareholders.

"Creditors are asked to swallow a massive loss in this debt-to-equity conversion. They are in this situation because a few managers around Richard Elman deceived them, manufactured the whole balance and filled their pockets in the process," the post read.

Moreover, it questioned the few details on Noble's potential investor and whether due diligence has already been conducted.

The post concluded, "We urge creditors to reject this proposal and demand much tougher conditions to safeguard their interests. Again, Noble’s management has no choice and will be forced to accept." 

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