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Noble gets in-principle nod for 3-year US$700m loan; warns of Q4, full-year 2017 loss

Holders of Noble Group Ltd's perpetual bonds joined forces to oppose the embattled commodity trader's US$3.5 billion restructuring plan.

NOBLE Group on Monday said it has reached an in-principle agreement with the group's senior creditors, or "ad hoc group", and fronting bank ING for the provision of a three-year US$700 million trade finance facility.

The ad hoc group represents holders of about 36 per cent of Noble's existing senior debt instruments. Advisers of this ad hoc group are also in contact with creditors who hold an additional 15 per cent of Noble's existing senior debt instruments, and have indicated their broad support for a restructuring of the group's liabilities, Noble said.

"Restructuring discussions with stakeholders continue to be productive as the group moves towards launching the Restructuring Support Agreement (RSA) for the holders of the existing senior debt instruments. The RSA forms the basis for the completion of a restructuring of the group's debts," the commodity trader said.

"Given the status of restructuring discussions with the ad hoc group in reaching agreement on the RSA, and the trade finance facilities presently provided by the group's banks, the board is, on balance and on the basis of legal advice, satisfied that the group can continue as a going concern, until such time as the restructuring is completed."

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Separately, Noble warned of a net loss for the three months, and full year ended Dec 31, 2017.

The group is expecting a fourth-quarter net loss in the range of US$1.7 billion to US$1.9 billion; and a full-year net loss of between US$4.8 billion and US$5 billion.

This comprises of an adjusted net loss from the continuing hard commodities, freight and LNG operations between US$50 million and US$100 million; net loss from the discontinued global oil liquids and north american gas & power operations in the range of US$225 to US$275 million; as well as exceptional items - including significant non-cash mark to market losses due to reserves and adjustments - resulting in a loss between US$1.45 billion and US$1.55 billion.

"Operating conditions continued to be challenging in Q4 FY17 as the group continued to manage the business within existing constraints in trade finance and liquidity availability. Focus during the quarter was placed on concluding the asset disposal programme and moving forward with the debt restructuring proposal," Noble said.

The group's consolidated financial statements for the year ended Dec 31 will be released on Feb 28.

Noble's shares ended trading at S$0.196 on Thursday, down 0.5 per cent, or 0.1 Singapore cent.

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