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Noble Group shareholders approve sale of North Americas gas and power unit to Mercuria

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Noble Group shareholders approved the sale of its North American gas and power unit to rival Mercuria Energy Group on Tuesday, with 99.76 per cent casting a "yes" vote at a special general meeting.

NOBLE Group shareholders approved the sale of its North American gas and power unit to rival Mercuria Energy Group on Tuesday, with 99.76 per cent casting a "yes" vote at a special general meeting.

The sale, which would bring in about US$261 million based on the second quarter results - slightly higher than the initially announced figure of US$248 million - is expected to help Noble reduce its debt levels.

Noble's chairman, Paul Brough, also told shareholders that the group is in the second phase of the sale of its global oil liquids unit. The proceeds from these will be used to retire as much as US$3 billion in credit facilities linked to these operations, as well as the group's remaining debt.

The group is now in "very difficult" circumstances, and has not been able to operate on a business-as-usual basis after it lost the support of its bankers, said Mr Brough.

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"Rest assured that I am doing all I can to avoid any kind of formal process and I'm doing all I can to turn the business around," he added.

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