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Noble Group seeks to rebuild LNG, core energy businesses

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Noble Group Holdings plans to rebuild its liquefied natural gas (LNG) and core energy businesses and develop rare earths as it seeks new life as a niche, Asia-focused commodity trader, sources aware of the matter said.

"We have enough credit lines to expand the LNG business. In our restructuring, we made sure we had ample credit facilities, so that we could build the business that we lost," said one senior executive with the company, which took over assets of the under-liquidation Noble Group.

Noble Holdings has now set up a Singapore desk for LNG by hiring a former trader from Australia's Origin Energy, expanding its four-person LNG team in London, industry sources said.

"The company has always had an LNG team but activities were wound down for a while and are now starting back up," one of the sources said.

Three LNG traders including two co-heads of the team had left Noble in 2016 to join rival Glencore. It also sold its US gas and power business to another rival, Mercuria.

The new Singapore LNG desk will focus on trading, the source said. The restart of the desk has not been previously reported.

"We have been in a process to prove to the market that Noble is a viable enterprise and can continue to fulfil contracts," the company executive said, using a three-year trade finance facility of US$700 million (S$971 million) secured as part of its restructure.

Noble saw its market value all but wiped out from US$6 billion in 2015 after Iceberg Research issued reports accusing it of inflating assets. To rescue itself, it sold billions of dollars of assets, took hefty write-downs and heavily cut jobs. - REUTERS