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Noble rejects fresh accounting allegations, auditors complete review

John Lamb | Digital Vision | Getty Images

Asian commodities trader Noble Group on Thursday rejected fresh allegations of aggressive accounting from an obscure research firm, which triggered a trading halt ahead of the release of its annual results.

The company halted trading in its stock, valued at $5.3 billion, on Thursday morning to allow time for consultations with its auditors, Ernst & Young, following the latest report from Iceberg Research questioning its accounting practices.

The Singapore-listed company subsequently said the auditors had completed a review of their procedures and would sign off on the accounts, which are due for release later on Thursday. The company said its shares would resume trading on Friday.

Little-known Iceberg said Noble had overstated the value of commodities it held by at least $3.8 billion, in its second attack on the Hong Kong-based trader this month.

Read MoreNoble shares take second-day drubbing

"Impairing these fair values dramatically impacts Noble's performance indicators," the research firm said on its website on Wednesday.

A similar Iceberg report on Feb. 15 triggered a two-day sell-off that wiped 13 percent from the commodities firm's share price. Noble rejected those allegations as well, but the stock has only recovered 1 percent since then.

Noble said the latest allegations were "materially and factually inaccurate" and dismissed Iceberg Research's report as an "anonymous blog".

"All physical contracts which are marked-to-market are fair valued based on market prices, and are discounted based on a risk-adjusted discount rate," it said in a statement.

In response to a Reuters email seeking clarification of its methods, Iceberg Research said: "Our methodology is simply analyzing financial statements".