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Noble sells three subsidiaries as credit ratings dip

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Embattled commodity trader Noble Group has sold three small subsidiaries for a total of US$4.7 million (S$6.5 million) - as it suffered a fresh downgrade from a ratings agency.

In a statement to the Singapore Exchange yesterday, Noble said the three firms were Worldwide Warehouse Solutions UK, Worldwide Warehouse Solutions Singapore and Worldwide Warehouse Solutions LLC, based in the United States. The trio provided warehousing for non-ferrous metals to a firm called WWS International Holdings.

In a separate development, Fitch Ratings said it had downgraded Noble owing to uncertainty over its earnings and other factors.

Fitch said it had downgraded Noble's long-term foreign-currency issuer default rating to "CCC" from "B-". The agency also downgraded its senior unsecured rating and the ratings on all its outstanding senior unsecured notes to "CCC" from "B-", it said.

"The downgrade follows continued uncertainty regarding Noble's funding capacity and how this will affect its operation at its current business scale," it said.