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Noble Group seen complying with accounting norms in PwC report

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Noble Group, the commodity trader battling criticism of its accounting, has complied with international rules in valuing long-term contracts but should improve governance and methodology, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP said.

[LONDON] Noble Group, the commodity trader battling criticism of its accounting, has complied with international rules in valuing long-term contracts but should improve governance and methodology, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP said.

The firm's "approach to valuations" is consistent with regulations and standard industry practice, PwC said in a report commissioned by Noble and published in full by the trader on Monday. "In some aspects Noble has an approach which is more sophisticated than that of many non-financial companies."

The Singapore-based firm has lost more than half its value since mid-February when a group calling itself Iceberg Research criticized its practices. Since then, others including short- seller Muddy Waters LLC have joined in the scrutiny, questioning the way in which Noble values long-term contracts.

PwC cautioned that its work was limited and it didn't have a mandate to review individual transactions or accounts. The auditor said Noble should improve how it measures contract values, including reducing the "high degree of reliance on key individuals," and increase audit oversight.

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