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Noble promises more transparency again after AGM leaves some shareholders disconcerted

Noble Group on Wednesday promised more transparency as it did previously, starting with more disclosures in its first quarter 2015 results, scheduled for release on May 7.

NOBLE Group on Wednesday promised more transparency, starting with greater disclosures in its first quarter 2015 results, scheduled for release on May 7.  

"The exact nature and format of the disclosures is being determined after receiving feedback from all our key stakeholders, including the board of directors, the management team and the company's auditors,'' the commodities group said.

Consideration will be given to disclosures for net fair value gains/losses by region and by product, it said, adding that it will be updating the segmental disclosures to reflect the ongoing Noble businesses after the 2014 Noble Agri transaction with COFCO.

"The nature, format and frequency of the disclosures are being carefully considered to ensure that increased transparency is provided but commercial sensitivity is respected,'' Noble said.

Noble, which had previously also promised to be more transparent, elaborated on how its valuation of its Yancoal associate was determined. A value in use calculation at a discount rate of 9 per cent was used, it said.

"Our impairment approach is consistent with commodities companies' practices, and, like many commodities companies, we have been recognizing impairments as commodity prices have fallen," Noble said.

It reiterated that its mark-to-market values will be realised in cash. On its inventory sales, Noble said the full risks and rewards are passed on to the bank.

The aim to provide more transparency came after some shareholders voiced their unhappiness over its reluctance to address certain questions raised during its annual general meeting on April 17.

An article in The Business Times on April 18 reported that Noble's founder and chairman Richard Elman "repeatedly dodged shareholders' queries on the group's accounting practices, and instead steered the AGM's focus to the resolutions on Noble's financial statements and the reports of its directors and auditors".

Noble insists that all shareholders' queries were answered either by Mr Elman, CEO Yusuf Alireza, or independent director Irene Lee.

"In addition, several directors stayed behind after the AGM and spoke to interested shareholders personally. A copy of the AGM transcript is attached and has been posted on the company's website for the record. Going forwards, Noble will continue to respond to all valid questions raised by stakeholders," Noble said in a statement on Wednesday morning.

Noble closed down 1.5 cents at 87 cents on Tuesday.

READ MORE: Noble Group barred from Platts' oil pricing process: sources