Noble’s Third-Quarter Profit Drops 70% on Yancoal Loss

Noble Group Ltd. (NOBL), Asia’s biggest commodity trader by sales, said third-quarter profit slumped 70 percent as it booked a non-cash loss related to its stake in coal miner Yancoal (YAL) Australia Ltd.

Net income was $22.9 million in the three months ended Sept. 30, including a $91.9 million loss arising from Noble’s holding in associates, compared with $75.2 million a year earlier, the Hong Kong-based company said today in a statement. Sales in the quarter advanced 13 percent to $25.6 billion.

Noble, the second-largest shareholder in Yancoal, accounted for its share of the miner’s A$749.4 million ($699 million) loss in the first six months. Stripping out the loss, Noble’s profit was $113 million, the highest since the third quarter of 2010, it said in the statement.

“The third-quarter core profit was the best since 2010 and our cost targets are being met,” Chief Executive Officer Yusuf Alireza said in a separate statement. “We are taking full advantage of the current downturn to add significant offtake and marketing agreements.”

Noble shares gained 1.4 percent to S$1.08 at the close in Singapore before the earnings were released.

Operating income at Noble’s agriculture unit fell 80 percent to $14 million. Its energy unit, which includes coal and power businesses, posted a 55 percent gain in operating income to $339.4 million.

Earnings before interest and taxes at Noble’s metals division fell 22 percent to $20.7 million. The company has expanded its portfolio to include tin, copper, bauxite, alumina, zinc and lead, it said in the statement.,

Yanzhou Coal, China’s fourth-biggest coal producer, bought Gloucester Coal Ltd. last year and merged it with its Australian assets to create Yancoal. Noble, which controlled Gloucester, retained a 13.2 percent stake in Yancoal, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Yanzhou offered in July to buy the rest of Yancoal with depositary receipts, a plan that Royal Bank of Canada said is contrary to regulatory conditions.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michelle Yun in Hong Kong at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jason Rogers at

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.