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Goldilocks sues to stop Noble from holding AGM and furthering restructuring work

GOLDILOCKS Investment Company, a substantial shareholder of Noble Group, has launched two lawsuits against the commodity trading company to restrain it from proceeding with its annual general meeting to be held next Monday and from taking any action to further the restructuring support agreement.

"The conduct of Noble, its board and the supporting creditors has left Goldilocks with no other alternatives but to pursue legal action, in order to protect and preserve the rights of all shareholders," the third largest shareholder of Noble said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon.

In the first lawsuit, Goldilocks is seeking remedies including a declaration that it is entitled to propose directors for election to Noble's board, and also to exercise its shareholder rights.

In the second lawsuit, it is asking for Noble to be restrained from taking any further actions to establish connections in the United Kingdom in its effort to move its centre of interest to the country, as well as to make progress on the restructuring support agreement.

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These are "regrettable but are necessary as a direct result of coercive actions taken by Noble", said Goldilocks.

The two lawsuits, filed in Singapore, add to another one that Goldilocks launched in late March against the company and several executives, accusing them of inflating profits to raise money and justify extravagant remuneration packages.

They also come as Noble Group chairman on Wednesday morning urged shareholders to support the current board and its restructuring plan, arguing that Goldilocks has not offered a credible alternative.

Goldilocks had earlier nominated five individuals for election as independent non-executive directors of the company.

Noble on Monday rejected the move, saying that Goldilocks is not a member of the company - defined as being a duly registered holder of its shares - because it holds its shares through a depository agent.

Meanwhile, the Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX Regco) entered the fray on Tuesday night, saying that it wants to facilitate an "open dialogue" between Noble, senior creditors and Goldilocks.

"We invite the company, the senior creditors as well as Goldilocks to engage in an open dialogue to resolve this matter substantively rather than through legal form and technicalities. SGX RegCo will facilitate the dialogue between the parties," a spokesman said in a statement.

Noble's shares fell 0.5 cent, or 5.1 per cent, to close at 9.3 Singapore cents on Wednesday.