Asian-based commodities giant Noble Group has closed US$2.3bn worth of syndicated revolving credit facilities, despite speculation over its accounting practices.
The Singapore-listed, Hong Kong-based trading house confirmed that 35 banks participated in the lending, which will go towards refinancing existing debt.
The finance consists of one 364-day RCF and one three-year facility, priced at 85bps and 95bps, respectively.
The size of the package and breadth of lenders show that banks have kept faith in Noble, after an obscure body known as Iceberg Research accused it of adding billions of dollars to its asset value through aggressive accounting practices.
In a mid-February report, Iceberg compared Noble Group to Enron, the US energy company at the centre of one of the largest accounting scandals in corporate history. Enron, which employed around 20,000 staff at the time of its demise in 2001, fabricated its financial health through systemic and planned accounting fraud.
The Iceberg report read: “Noble exploits the accounting treatment of its associates to avoid large impairments and fabricate profit.”
Noble has vehemently denied the accusations, which wiped US$1.8bn – around one-third – from its market value. It has since launched court action against analysts it claims to be behind the publishing.
In a statement, Noble Group implied that Iceberg had released the report to aid short-sellers, saying: “We reject their allegations as inaccurate, unreliable and misleading. As a public company we support responsible research. However, Iceberg are not the independent research house they claim to be. Their actions, and their timing, have been calculated primarily to inflict damage rather than to facilitate the distribution of research.”
Bookrunner mandated lead arrangers on Noble’s new RCFs are as follows:
ANZ, Bank of America, BTMU, Citibank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Raiffeisen, DBS Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Intesa Sanpaolo, JP Morgan, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Raiffeisen, Société Générale, Standard Chartered and United Overseas Bank.