Back from the brink: How Noble Group was saved from an Iceberg collision

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – In May 2017, Paul Brough had just assumed the chairmanship of Noble Group and immediately faced a room full of angry bankers demanding their money back from the struggling commodity trader. Mustering all his 25-plus years of experience as a restructuring specialist, Brough needed their support to keep the credit lines open that underpinned the operations of what had once been Asia’s biggest commodity trading house. At the meeting in Amsterdam in late May, banks were shocked by a recently reported quarterly loss and were in no mood to keep supporting the company. “The atmosphere in the room was highly charged,” Brough told Reuters in an interview last week. “A number of them were already taking the decision that they wanted to exit the relationship,” said Brough, a former senior regional partner at KPMG in Hong Kong who helped wind up the Asian business of Lehman Brothers. The following week’s meeting with U.S. banks did not go much better, with Brough, 61, saying the banks “made it very clear that they wanted their secure debt repaid very, very quickly.” However, Brough, who managed China’s Sino-Forest after its $4 billion collapse in 2011, convinced the U.S. banks to… continue reading

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