Investing

We want Noble Group back to 'its past glory,' says fund manager

Key Points
  • The dispute between Abu Dhabi-based investment fund Goldilocks Investment and commodity trader Noble Group shows no signs of ending soon.
  • The argument started earlier this year as Noble started a restructuring process.
  • One fund manager at Goldilocks said he hoped for a resolution.
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Goldilocks: Noble rejection of nominations isn't in 'good faith'

The dispute between Abu Dhabi-based investment fund Goldilocks Investment and commodity trader Noble Group shows no signs of ending soon, but one fund manager at Goldilocks said he hoped for a resolution.

"All of the stakeholders need to work together to make sure the company survives and the value is preserved," Ajit Vijay Joshi, fund manager at Goldilocks Investment, told CNBC's Capital Connection.

Joshi's comments come amid an ongoing dispute between Noble and Goldilocks which started earlier this year as Noble started a restructuring process. That led Goldilocks, which holds a 8.1 percent stake in the group, to question the stake that the firm's management will have in the restructured firm.

In March, Goldilocks filed a lawsuit with the Singapore High Court against the commodities trader and some of its former and current senior executives, alleging the company inflated its assets, Reuters reported.

The dispute between the groups deepened when Noble rejected Goldilocks' attempt to nominate five non-executive directors — including Joshi — for the company.

Noble said it had rejected the attempt because Goldilocks is not a member of the company since it holds its substantial stake through a depository agent. Goldilocks responded by saying the rejection was "an act of utmost bad faith."

The company logo of Noble Group at its headquarters in Hong Kong
Bobby Yip | Reuters

Saying Noble's rejection was based on a "frivolous, technical argument," Joshi said Goldilocks wanted the company "to survive and to bring in new proposals and new solutions that will help it and that's why we wanted to have a representation." He added that "nobody really wants liquidation."

"We are very much interested in making sure the company turns around and thrives, but having said that, as a shareholder, we are interested to see that the equity and the distribution of the pie is fair and equitable to all shareholders and stakeholders that have stood by the company in the long term."

Goldilocks has previously criticized the restructuring of Noble, objecting to restrictions on allocating shares to investors, Reuters reported.

Noble Group, once Asia's largest commodities trader, was hit hard by a commodity price collapse. The firm was forced to sell or write down assets and cut costs to boost liquidity.

Calling the company a "crown jewel" among Asia's trading houses, Joshi said that, if the company is managed well, it "can be brought back to its past glory."

Noble Group was invited on to CNBC's "Capital Connection" to talk about the dispute with Goldilocks, but the company declined the invitation.