Noble Group Holding, the “New Noble” that emerged after restructuring the troubled commodity trader, reported Tuesday a net profit of US$30.3 million (S$41.18 million) for the first quarter.
That included net profit of US$19.2 million for its Trading Co. and US$8.5 million for its Asset Co., the company said in a press release.
“Global demand for the group’s traded commodities remained strong in the first quarter of 2019, however prices demonstrated some volatility and were generally lower during the period compared to 2018 levels,” Noble said.
“Volumes are expected to ramp-up over the remainder of the year as Trading Co. Group continues to deliver on its core flows and commences building out new long term partnerships,” it added.
Noble was positive in its outlook.
“The group remains focused on consolidating its position as Asia’s leading independent energy products and industrial raw materials supply chain manager,” Noble said.
“The group’s healthy liquidity position, committed trade finance and hedging support facility and termed out debt maturity profile provide a stable platform to return the group to sustainable profitability and deliver long term value to all of its stakeholders.”
The previous entity, or “Old Noble,” had faced a gamut of a once-anonymous critic, Iceberg Research, whose allegations of accounting issues had weighed its share price, as well as a prolonged commodity-price slump which sapped its earnings over a period of years.
The company also faced controversy over the twists and turns in its efforts to restructure into New Noble and leave behind much of its debt.
The long-running restructuring drama reached a milestone in a completed restructuring deal in December. In November, Noble requested its shares be suspended from trade permanently. The shares closed at S$0.081 on that day, a far cry from their height of around S$18.14 touched in early 2011.
In December, however, the Singapore Police Force, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and Singapore Exchange Regulation jointly said that “Old Noble” wouldn’t be allowed to transfer its listing on SGX to the new entity, citing “significant uncertainties” on its financial position.
That left the stakeholders in New Noble without an exchange to trade their shares.
Late last year, Singapore authorities said they were investigating “Old Noble” over suspected accounting irregularities. In December, “Old Noble” said it would cooperate with the authorities and that it held a “strong view” that its accounting complied with regulations.