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Stocks to watch: Noble, Keppel, Sembcorp, Otto Marine (Amended)


NOBLE Group - before the market opened on Friday - requested for a trading halt before announcing a US$500 million rights issue, cost-reduction programmes and changes to its board of directors.

Keppel Infrastructure Fund Management, trustee-manager of Keppel Infrastructure Trust, on Thursday reiterated cable operator Basslink's belief that the outage of the only electricity interconnector between Tasmania and mainland Australia is a force majeure event and the fault is covered by insurance.

Responding to The Business Times' request for comments on reports that Australia-based energy advisory firm EnergyQuest has estimated that the failure of the Basslink interconnector has cost Tasmania at least A$560 million (S$555.8 million) to date, a Keppel spokesman said: "Based on current circumstances and subject to further professional advice and investigation, Basslink believes that the outage is a force majeure event and the fault is covered by insurance."

"The cause of the outage is currently being investigated and Basslink will make the necessary announcements when appropriate," the spokesman said, adding: "It is currently estimated that the link may resume operations around end June 2016, based on current estimates and allowing contingency for weather and other unforeseeable conditions."

Keppel Corporation, Sembcorp Industries and Sembcorp Marine on Thursday denied allegations raised against them in a lawsuit filed by US investment company EIG Management.

EIG Management and eight of its managed funds have added several companies as defendants in an action that it commenced against Petrobras in the US District Court of Columbia. EIG alleged that the defendants participated in an unlawful conspiracy in which EIG was induced to invest over US$221 million in Petrobras' rig owning unit Sete Brasil.

Otto Marine, following a trading halt on Thursday morning, announced that a potential buyer is eyeing the offshore marine group. In a release to the Singapore exchange on Thursday afternoon, Otto Marine said that it received a letter from RHB Securities Singapore, the financial adviser to the potential buyer.

The letter said: "On behalf of the offeror, we would like to inform the board of directors that we may initiate a transaction which may or may not lead to an acquisition of the issued share capital of the company."

Amendment note: The statements issued to The Business Times are from a Keppel spokesperson representing Keppel Infrastructure Fund Management, and not a Keppel Corporation spokesperson.  The above article has been revised to reflect this.