Noble Group, the Hong Kong-based commodity trader, has secured a four-month extension on a loan repayment from its group of lenders.

The extension of its US$2bn senior-secured borrowing based revolving credit facility was announced as talks continue between the distressed trader and its bankers in Europe, the US and Asia. In a statement, Noble Group said that its major bankers have hired legal and financial advisors “to enhance these discussions”.

The statement continues: “Whilst no assurance can be given as to the outcome of these discussions, the group believes that these are constructive and are being conducted in good faith by all parties”.

The company also managed to push back a US$12mn payment of a coupon on a US$400mn bond, which was due on June 26, granting it some relief from its debt covenants.

However, there is some speculation that the restructuring of the US$2bn debt will be classed as a credit default swap. If this is the case, investors in this market would be due pay-outs of some US$5bn, Bloomberg reports.

Noble Group will use the 120-day period to find new investors and, likely, try to sell of more of its assets. Once a global top 100 company, Noble has been engaged in a fire sale of assets over the last couple of years.

In October 2016, Noble sold off its North American energy distribution unit to the US company Calpine, for just over US$1bn. Six months previously, it sold agri trading business, Noble Agri, to Chinese company Cofco for US$750mn.

Before this, it had scaled-back its metals trading business, but in an off-record conversation, a senior member of the metals team told GTR he did not expect that unit to be sold off, amid speculation that a Chinese buyer had been lined up.

None of these have had the desired effect. The company managed to secure further revolving facilities of US$3bn last year, but did not avoid being downgraded to junk status by successive credit rating agencies.

A net loss of US$129mn was reported in the first-quarter of 2017, continuing the downward spiral that has defined the past two years, for what was once Asia’s largest commodity trader.

In February 2015, a little-known company called Iceberg Research released a report casting aspersions on Noble’s accounting practices. The report stated: “Noble exploits the accounting treatment of its associates to avoid large impairments and fabricate profit.”

It went on to compare the trader to collapsed energy company Enron, which employed around 20,000 staff at the time of its demise in 2001, and fabricated its financial health through systemic and planned accounting fraud.

The report wiped US$1.8bn off Noble’s valuation and the company’s fortunes have been in rapid decline virtually ever since. The announcement of an extension to its debt facilities have resulted in an immediate bump in the share price: it jumped by 46% on Monday on the news, the highest rise in 18 years.

However, this is against a backdrop of having lost 70% of its value already this year. The company says it is focusing on its liquidity. Whether it survives may depend on how many of its assets it can shift before its debt repayments come round again.