Noble Group races to secure revamp before coupon due
January 13 2018 11:32 PM
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Bloomberg/London

Noble Group Ltd is racing to hammer out a deal on restructuring about $3.5bn in debt within the next ten days as the commodity trader’s long-running battle for survival enters a critical phase.
Top Noble executives met with creditors in London this week, according to people familiar with the matter. They’re trying to reach an in-principle deal before the end of next week to provide some breathing room before a coupon payment falls due on January 29, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing private negotiations.
The talks are the latest stage in an increasingly existential crisis for what was once Asia’s largest commodity trader and a challenger to global companies such as Glencore Plc and Vitol Group. The Hong Kong-based company’s market value has collapsed from more than $10bn to less than $200mn, driven by trading losses, writedowns and criticisms of its accounting.
Holders of $2.3bn in Noble bonds and of a $1.1bn revolving credit facility due in May are now presenting a unified position in talks with the company, the people said.
The restructuring talks, which started in November, are coalescing around a deal that would involve converting much of Noble’s unsecured debt into equity. Remaining debt would be repaid from two separate sources: assets such as Jamaican alumina refinery Jamalco, which would be sold over time or run for cash, and Noble’s rump trading business focused on coal and metals markets
 in Asia.
Noble closed the sale of its oil trading unit to Vitol on Friday, just ahead of the maturity of a credit facility linked to the business, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Noble must pay about $39.7mn of interest due on January 29 on its bonds maturing 2020, according to Bloomberg calculations. It’s unclear whether the company would pay the coupon while in restructuring talks, but if it fails to pay it would be declared in default after a brief grace period.
However, a deal between Noble and its creditors – which include Och-Ziff Capital Management LLC, Davidson Kempner Capital Management LLC and Taconic Capital Advisors – is still some way off, the people said.


Noble must pay about $39.7mn of interest due on January 29 on its bonds maturing 2020, according to Bloomberg calculations. It’s unclear whether the company would pay the coupon while in restructuring talks, but if it fails to pay it would be declared in default after a brief grace period.



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