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Noble Group raises stake in Mongolian railways firm in exchange for debt repayment

NOBLE Group has bought an additional 10 per cent stake in Northern Mongolian Railways Limited (NMRL), a subsidiary of Australia-listed Aspire Mining Limited for US$1.4 million.

NMRL owns a concession to build, operate and transfer a railway line in Mongolia through its 100 per cent owned subsidiary Northern Railway LLC.

The consideration was satisfied through the conversion of debt owed to Noble Group's wholly owned subsidiary Noble Resources International Pte Ltd (NRIPL) by Ovoot Coking Coal Pte Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Aspire.

The shares carried a negative book value of A$833.8.

With the latest deal, NRIPL's shareholding in NMRL is raised to 20 per cent in total, and NMRL becomes an associated company of Noble.

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Noble said that the amount was arrived at on a willing buyer willing seller basis, after taking into consideration the future development prospects of Aspire's coal and railways projects, how it strengthens Noble's position in the Mongolian market, and the group's desire to consolidate its shareholding interests in Aspire.

NRIPL also increased its shareholding interest in Aspire from 18.2 per cent to 19.9 per cent on Dec 11, after subscribing for the full amount of its entitlement in a renounceable rights issue and agreeing to sub-underwrite a portion of the shortfall.

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