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Noble committed to 'open and ongoing dialogue' with shareholders: chairman

NOBLE chairman Paul Brough has sought to reassure shareholders that the company's board and management remain committed to "open and ongoing dialogue".

In a meeting on Friday with representatives from minority investor advocacy group Securities Investors Association Singapore (Sias), Mr Brough also said that he retains the necessary independence to supervise the company's restructuring.

"Mr Brough has assured Sias that he, the Noble Group board and management remain committed to an open and ongoing dialogue with shareholders, irrespective of the size of their individual holdings, and that a town hall gathering will be held once the restructuring has advanced, to be hosted by Sias," the investor group said in a statement released on Sunday.

This comes after the battered commodity trader struck a deal with a group of creditors under which existing shareholders' equity would be nearly wiped out, while the restructured firm would have much lower debt.

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Under Noble's restructuring plan, the new company that will hold all of its businesses, and assets will ultimately be 70 per cent owned by senior creditors, 20 per cent by the management and 10 per cent by existing shareholders.

The in-principle agreement Noble reached with 30 per cent of its creditors proposes to halve its debts of US$3.5 billion by asking them to take on equity and new debt instruments.

The restructuring follows three tumultuous years in which the Hong Kong-based company cut jobs and sold assets, some at losses, taking massive write-downs and raising funds.

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