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Noble Group sells stake in JV to Australia-listed associate Aspire

NOBLE Group has sold its stake in a joint venture Coalridge Limited for US$1 million to Australia-listed Aspire Mining in the form of Aspire shares and options, plus a future royalty.

Coalridge Limited is a joint venture between Noble Group and Australia-listed Xanadu Mines, a copper and gold exploration firm with several advanced projects in Mongolia.

In an exchange filing on Friday, Noble said that its indirect wholly owned subsidiary, Logarta Limited, has sold the 50 per cent stake in Coalridge to Aspire Mining.

The consideration comprises an initial US$1 million and a future royalty payable on coal produced and/or sold from the Nuurstei coking coal project located in the Khuvsgul province of Mongolia.

The book value and net tangible asset value attributable to the 50 per cent stake in Coalridge were both US$8.56 million as at June 30.

The consideration was arrived at on a willing-seller, willing-buyer basis after taking into account the future development prospects of the Nuurstei project and Noble's desire to consolidate its shareholding interests in Aspire, Noble said in the announcement.

The initial consideration of US$1 million will be satisfied through the issuance of 66.67 million new ordinary Aspire shares, and 66.67 million options to subscribe for Aspire shares. These had a book value of A$1.80 million as at Dec 31 last year, while the open market value attributable to these shares is about A$1.33 million.

The options are exercisable at a strike price of 2.5 Australian cents each, and may be exercised at any time within 12 months from the date of the granting of the options.

On top of the above, Aspire has issued another 41.7 million shares and 41.7 million options to subscribe for Aspire shares to Noble Resources International Pte Ltd (NRIPL), an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Noble Group.

This is in lieu of a cash interest payment of US$625,068 due from a facility agreement between an Aspire subsidiary Ovoot Coking Coal Pte Ltd and NRIPL.

Following the above transactions, Noble's shareholding in Aspire has risen from 9.54 per cent to 18.20 per cent.