SINGAPORE (Nov 20): Singapore authorities are launching an investigation into beleaguered commodities trader Noble Group and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Noble Resources, amid the group’s controversial debt restructuring exercise.
According to a joint statement issued on Tuesday by the Singapore Police Force (SPF), Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), Noble is suspected of making “false and misleading statements” as well as breaches of disclosure requirements under the Securities and Futures Act (Cap. 289).
The group has been asked by CAD and MAS to furnish documents related to the preparation of its financial statements.
Authorities have also flagged the potential non-compliance of Noble Resources with accounting standards under Section 201 of the Companies Act (Cap.50).
Following a review of Noble Resources’ financial statements for the financial years ended Dec 2012 to Dec 2016, ACRA has notified the company’s board of the suspected breaches found.
It has also requested the directors to provide further information as part of the ongoing investigation.
Separately, a spokesperson for the Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) tells The Edge Singapore in an e-mailed statement that it is yet to be determined if Noble’s ongoing investigations will impact its pro-forma financial statements as disclosed in the group’s proposed restructuring circular.
“Trading can only start after restructuring has been completed and this is in turn dependent on our review. SGX RegCo has been engaging the relevant regulatory agencies on this matter and will continue to do so. As investigations are ongoing, we are unable to comment further,” says the regulatory unit.
To recap, Noble is in the midst of executing a restructuring plan that will see a significant dilution of investor shareholdings, and its creditors owning most of the company. The group said last week that its proposed restructuring had received the necessary regulatory sanctions to proceed.
Click here to read the full story from The Edge Singapore (issue #587, week of Nov 19).
Shares in Noble Group closed at 0.81 cent last Friday prior to Monday’s trading halt.