Noble Group Approaches Banks for $2 Billion Two-Part Refinancing

Noble Group Ltd., Asia’s biggest publicly listed commodity trader, has approached its relationship banks for a $2 billion two-part loan to refinance debt, according to four people familiar with matter.

The facility will include a $1 billion one-year tranche and two $500 million three-year parts, the people said, asking not to be identified because the details are private. The facility’s all-in pricing is expected to be lower than Noble’s $2.36 billion loan which was completed in 2012, one of the people said.

Noble’s stock was raised to buy by Malayan Banking Bhd. last month because the company is poised to benefit the most among coal and iron ore suppliers from an economic recovery in China in 2013. The Hong Kong-based company reported in November a third-quarter profit of $75.2 million, missing the $154.6 million mean estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, as revenue from its agricultural business fell.

Wildrik de Blank, Noble Group’s treasurer, declined to comment on the refinancing when contacted by telephone today.

Noble’s 2012 multipart loan pays a maximum margin of 220 basis points over benchmark rates and minimum of 130 basis points, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Some of the debt falls due in May this year and some in May 2015.

Stock in Noble was trading 0.8 percent higher at S$1.24 as at 11:42 a.m. in Singapore. The shares have risen 7.4 percent this year, versus a 1.5 percent increase in the benchmark Straits Times index.

Bank responses for the new facility are due by the end of this month, the people said.

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