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Noble seeks one day more for restructuring

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The effective date for Noble Group's restructuring is now expected to take place on Dec 20, instead of the slated Dec 19, the company said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday.

THE effective date for Noble Group's restructuring is now expected to take place on Dec 20, instead of the slated Dec 19, the company said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday. 

The group also noted that it will make additional announcements "when there are further developments in relation to the restructuring, the schemes and/or the other matters contemplated". 

Noble is now on track to complete its restructuring deal after a Bermuda court approved an officer to carry out the plan using a local kind of insolvency process, Bloomberg reported last week. 

In a brief court hearing on Dec 14, the judge called the group insolvent, and allowed a court-appointed officer to oversee the restructuring.

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The green light from the Bermuda court will allow Noble to avoid liquidation after its preferred restructuring plan was scuppered by a probe from Singapore regulators. This means that the group could emerge from restructuring as soon as this week after more than a year of hard-fought negotiations over its US$3.5 billion debt pile, Bloomberg noted. 

The Singapore authorities has barred Noble from relisting its restructured company - dubbed as New Noble - as a new entity on the Singapore Exchange due to allegations of improper accounting. 

Asked by the judge whether New Noble would ever be listed on any exchange, Christian Luthi, a lawyer for Noble at Conyers Dill & Pearman, said there are no plans to do so.

Noble's market value has been severely pared down from US$6 billion over the past four years after its accounting was questioned by Iceberg Research in February 2015. The commodity trader has sold billions dollars worth of assets and undertook hefty writedowns while defending its accounting.

The firm now has a market cap of about S$107.5 million. Shares in Noble are suspended, and last traded at 8.1 Singapore cents on Nov 16.