The embattled Noble Group is facing a US$39M default in bonds, a lawsuit from a top shareholder and the resignation of its founder, World Grain reported on 23 March.
The company temporarily halted trading of its shares on the Singapore Exchange on 22 March and was also in the process of seeking a US$3.4bn debt restructuring, the report said.
The restructuring had been opposed by some bondholders and shareholders, including Goldilocks Investment Co, which has an 8.1% interest in the company.
World Grain said Goldilocks had filed a lawsuit against Noble and some of its former and current senior executives claiming they falsely inflated Noble’s assets.
Noble Group was once Asia’s largest commodities trader.
It markets, finances and trades commodities in the energy, metals and mining industries and also operates Capesize, Panamax and Supramax vessels in the dry bulk segment including iron ore, energy coal and grains.
It sold 51% of is agricultural unit to China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO) for US$1.5bn in 2014 and finalised the US$750M sale of its remaining 49% share to COFCO in December 2015.
The unit was blamed for most of the losses Noble was reporting in 2015, with the group posting its first annual loss in nearly 20 years on 25 February 2016 – a net loss of US$1.67bn for the year ending 30 December 2015 against a profit of US$132M a year earlier.
Since then, the company’s market value had fallen from US$6bn to US$114M amid record losses and shrinking of its businesses, World Grain said.
Noble has also been dogged by allegations of accounting irregularities, with Iceberg Research questioning its financial statements in 2015.
The group said it was consulting with its legal advisors and “intends to vigorously resist any and all allegations or claims made against it,” World Grain reported.
Richard Elman, who resigned as a non-executive director on 20 March, founded the Noble Group in the 1980s, was named among the defendants in the lawsuit filed by Goldilocks.