CIC and Noble Enter into Investment and Cooperation Agreement
21 September 2009 Hong Kong
The Noble Group (SGX: NOBL) is pleased to announce today an agreement to place 573,000,000 number of shares, for a total consideration of approximately USD850,000,000 to China Investment Corporation (“CIC”) at a price of SGD2.1137 per share. The placement comprised of 438,000,000 newly issued shares by the Company and 135,000,000 shares from trusts associated with the interests of Noble founder and CEO Richard Elman. The placement is subject to approval of the respective boards of directors of Noble Group and CIC and final legal documentation.
The placement was the result of extensive discussions between the two parties and underscores the expertise the Noble Group has developed in supply chain management and the distribution of commodities, particularly agricultural products. Noble’s diverse agricultural activities include farm production in Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil which is linked to an internal logistic and storage capability. Access to export markets is further supported by 5 owned port facilities throughout South America. Noble’s other agricultural assets include crushing plants and sugar refineries.
The newly issued shares will provide the Noble Group with additional capital to pursue strategic investments in key agricultural markets globally.
The shares sold by interests associated with Mr. Elman represent a small fraction of his holdings in the Noble Group and are only the second such sale by Mr. Elman since he founded the Group. It is the intention of Mr. Elman to use some of the proceeds associated with the sale of his interests in Noble to fund a charitable foundation with a focus on fostering international relations amongst Asian nations. The sale by Mr. Elman in no way reduces Mr. Elman’s commitment to Noble Group, the company which he founded and continues to be involved in day to day management.
CIC and Noble have agreed to enter into this partnership for the purpose of jointly investing in infrastructure assets and supply chain management related to agricultural commodities. It is the intention of both companies to bring to bear their respective strengths to achieve results which are satisfactory to their respective shareholders and bring benefits to consumers of agricultural products worldwide.
Mr. Elman commented “We are all extremely pleased with the investment by CIC in Noble and heartened that they, like us, evaluate the evolution and success of a company over decades as opposed to merely fiscal quarters. We think the opportunities to work together over the coming decades will be tremendous and we look forward to working together.”
Merrill Lynch (Singapore) Pte. Limited acted as the sole placement agent for Noble Group. J.P. Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Limited acted as financial advisor to CIC.
About Noble Group:
Noble Group (SGX: NOBL) is a market leader in managing the global supply chain of agricultural, industrial and energy products. We operate from over 100 offices in more than 40 countries, serving 4000+ customers. Noble manages a diversified portfolio of essential raw materials, integrating the sourcing, marketing, processing, financing and transportation.
With 2008 annual revenues exceeding US$36 billion, Noble continues its transition to owning and managing more strategic assets, sourcing from low cost producers such as Brazil, Australia and Indonesia and supplying to high growth demand markets including China, India and the Middle East. Today, Noble has interests in coal and iron ore mines, grain crushing facilities, sugar and ethanol plants, fuel terminals and storage facilities, vessels, ports and other infrastructure to ensure high quality products are delivered in the most efficient and timely manner to its customers.
In 2009, Noble ranked #218 on the Fortune Global 500 and achieved an "Investment Grade" rating (BBB-) from Standard & Poor's, complementing its other "Investment Grade" rating (BBB-) from Fitch the previous year. Also in 2008, the Group was included in the new 30 security Straits Times Index and gained a top ten placing in the ACCA/CFO Asia "Regional Corporate Transparency Index (CTI)". In addition, Noble placed on the Forbes Global 2000 and Forbes Fab 50 while being included in the S&P Global Challengers and The Asset's Best 60 Corporate Governance Award. Noble also received the Corporate Governance Recognition Award: Classes Of 2006 - 2009 by Corporate Governance Asia and was chosen as one of FinanceAsia's Best Companies. In 2005, Noble joined the MSCI Singapore Index. During this period, the Group was recognized as one of BusinessWeek's Stars of Asia and a Best Employer by Hewitt Associates.
For further details please contact:
Mr. Stephen Brown
Mr. Brad Smolar