* Noble says mandated banks to review strategic alternatives
* Shares fall 11 pct in early trade
(Adds comment from company, stock move)
SINGAPORE May 24 Struggling commodity trader
Noble Group Ltd said on Wednesday it was still in
discussions with various potential strategic parties as it
sought to regain market confidence, but its shares fell 11
percent in early trade.
Sources have told Reuters that China's state-owned Sinochem
is no longer pursuing an investment in Noble due to concerns
over its finances and business outlook - a development that came
after Noble reported a shock quarterly loss and said it would
not be profitable for the next two years.
Pain for the Singapore-listed firm was exacerbated with S&P
Global Ratings' slashing of its corporate credit ratings by
three notches deeper into junk territory and a warning that it
might not be able to pay its debt.
"The company has previously announced it is in talks with
various potential strategic parties... Such discussions are
ongoing," Noble said in its statement.
It also said it has mandated Moelis & Company and Morgan
Stanley to review strategic alternatives and is continuing to
evaluate further asset sales.
Referrring to the Reuters article on Sinochem, Noble said it
indicated the reasons for any transaction not proceeding were
commercial reasons about Noble, but "Noble is not aware of any
reason that would confirm what the article reports."
Noble's stock fell by 11 percent to S$0.375 on Wednesday,
with trade resuming after the company asked for a halt on
Tuesday when the stock dropped as much as 32 percent in heavy
Noble has struggled ever since Iceberg Research questioned
its accounts in early 2015 which came in tandem with a brutal
downturn in commodity markets. The company has stood by its
The combined impact has been a collapse of its share price,
credit downgrades, management upheavals and a series of
writedowns, asset sales and fundraising. Noble's market value
has shrunk to $354 million currently from $6 billion in February
(Reporting by Anshuman Daga and Miyoung Kim; Editing by Edwina