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UPDATE 1-Noble Group chairman expects creditors' proposal soon on debt restructuring

restructuring@

* Chairman says firm remains open to strategic investors

* Says needs more banks to support it at operational level

* Noble has about $3.5 billion in debt (Adds comments from chairman, background)

SINGAPORE, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Struggling commodities trader Noble Group Ltd expects to soon receive a proposal from creditors on its debt restructuring and its priority is to stay out of an insolvency process, its chairman said.

Noble, once a global trader with ambitions to rival the likes of Glencore or Vitol, has shrivelled to an Asian-centric company focused largely on coal and freight trading after a crisis-wracked three years that have forced it to slash jobs and sell assets to cut debt.

Chairman Paul Brough, a restructuring specialist who was appointed this year, told Noble's shareholders on Friday the company remained open to strategic investors.

He said a compromise had to be reached between Noble and its creditors, and that the company would need more banks to support its operations.

Hong Kong-based Noble has about $3.5 billion in debt.

Sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp, among its biggest shareholders, remained supportive of Noble's efforts to avoid an insolvency process, Brough added.

Noble was plunged into crisis in 2015 when Iceberg Research questioned its accounts. Noble stood by its accounts but a commodities downturn added to the turmoil, triggering a share price collapse, credit downgrades, writedowns and management changes. ($1 = 1.3470 Singapore dollars) (Reporting by Anshuman Daga; Additional reporting by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)