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Noble's largest shareholder, linked to family of founder, has sold US$10.5 million of senior notes: Board update

THE largest shareholder of embattled commodities trader Noble Group has sold certain senior notes since a special general meeting was called, the board said in the latest update on its proposed restructuring.

Noble Holdings Ltd (NHL), which owns a 17.95 per cent stake in the company and is linked to founder Richard Elman, held US$10.5 million in principal amount on 6.75 per cent senior notes due Jan 29, 2020, as at Aug 10, when the circular to shareholders was published.

But the board said on Sunday - the day before a meeting to vote on the restructuring deal - that it understands that NHL tendered the notes for sale on Aug 17 to Deutsche Bank, under the German lender's tender offer to purchase the debt-ridden Noble's outstanding bonds.

Bermuda-registered NHL is beneficially wholly-owned by a discretionary trust, with the beneficiaries including Mr Elman's children but not Mr Elman himself.

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"For the avoidance of doubt, Richard Samuel Elman is not a director of the company and will not be taking up any appointment as director of New Noble," said the board, using a moniker for the restructured company should the proposed debt-for-equity swop go through.

The board previously said that senior creditors representing about 86 per cent of claims have acceded to the restructuring support agreement.

Noble added in a separate announcement on Sunday that it would withdraw an ordinary resolution from its annual general meeting agenda, as director Christopher Dale Pratt is retiring and will not be offering himself for re-election. The annual general meeting is slated to take place after the special general meeting.