UPDATE 1-Noble Group to sell oil liquids business to Vitol for $580 mln

(Adds details from statement)

SINGAPORE, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Struggling Noble Group agreed to sell its Americas-focused oil liquids business to Vitol for about $580 million, as part of its strategy to shrink its businesses to cut debt.

Singapore-listed Noble's shares were halted on Friday afternoon, pending the "announcement of a major transaction." Citing sources, Reuters had reported that Vitol, the world's largest oil trader, was nearing a deal to buy Noble's oil liquids unit.

In a statement on Monday, Noble said the gross consideration of the sale would be $1.4 billion and after deducting indebtedness of about $836 million, the cash proceeds would be about $580 million.

Once Asia's biggest commodities trading house, Hong Kong-based Noble is slashing jobs and selling assets to reduce its debt. In July it agreed to sell its smaller North American gas and power business to Mercuria.

Noble, which is focusing on its core Asian coal trading business, also said its discussions with lenders had "focused on the group's banks in order to stabilise support for the group's working capital and trade finance requirements."

"Whilst no assurance can be given as to the outcome of these discussions, the group believes that these are open and constructive, and are moving forward," it said.

Noble also said it expected to report a loss in its third quarter, primarily due to non-cash losses resulting from the sale of certain assets and businesses. (Reporting by Anshuman Daga; Editing by Stephen Coates)