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Noble Group says impairment decision made on earnings date

Thursday, March 5, 2015 - 08:57
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Commodity trading house Noble Group Ltd said it only decided to take a US$200 million impairment charge relating to an Australian coal investment on the day of its earnings release, responding to a local newspaper report questioning the lack of a profit warning.

[SINGAPORE] Commodity trading house Noble Group Ltd said it only decided to take a US$200 million impairment charge relating to an Australian coal investment on the day of its earnings release, responding to a local newspaper report questioning the lack of a profit warning.

In a statement to the stock exchange, Noble said it conducts an impairment review of long-term assets every quarter and had the option of impairment charges for its stake in Yancoal of between zero and US$200 million, based on different assumptions.

The board and management decided on Feb 26, the day of its fourth-quarter and 2014 results, to adopt "the most prudent assumptions" and took an impairment charge of US$200 million, Noble said in the statement released late Wednesday.

In all, Noble took US$438 million in asset writedowns for the fourth-quarter, which pushed it to a net loss of US$240 million, its first quarterly loss in three years.

The unexpected loss came after an obscure research firm launched attacks on Noble's accounting practices, but Noble has said that its decisions on impairments were not related to the allegations.

REUTERS