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Noble says it can pay off bond, brings forward Q2s

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Noble Group, Asia's biggest commodity trader, said it has been approached by a number of parties about potential financing and investment options and refuted rumors that it would not be able to fund a $735 million bond redemption due this week.

Singapore-listed Noble has been grappling with waning investor confidence this year after being accused by Iceberg Research in mid-February of inflating its assets by billions of dollars.

It has rejected the claims and commissioned a report by PwC to review its accounting practices in an attempt to soothe investor concerns that appeared to accelerate last week when its shares slid nearly 30 percent. Since mid-February they are down some 60 percent. The stock was up just over 4 percent in morning trading on Monday.

In Monday's statement, Noble stressed that it has ample cash and liquidity to meet its obligations and operate its business. It can fund the $735 million bond redemption due Aug. 4, and will still have readily available cash of well over $1 billion, it said. It also said it has $15 billion in bank lines.

It also said that management has been approached by a number of parties in terms of potential financing, and strategic and/or investment options. While there was no guarantee of a deal in the near future, the board was committed to maximizing shareholder value, it added.

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Noble said it would bring forward the publication of its second-quarter results and the report by PwC on its accounting practices to Monday Aug. 10.

It also said in the statement that contrary to allegations that it needed to increasingly depend on fair value gains for profitability, its fair value gains fell in the second-quarter while operating income and profits remained positive.