Noble’s chairman and founder Richard Elman steps away from joining new board

Noble’s survival depends on the passing of the restructuring plans, on which the board is set to vote on August 27.

On Monday, bellicose commodity trader Noble Group Ltd disclosed, Richard Elman, who is its chairman and also its founder, will not take up the position of executive director in the restructured company citing “personal reasons”.

Although Noble was once Asia’s largest commodity trader, in recent years, it has drastically slashed its business and has sold billions of dollars of its assets; it has made major writedowns and slashed hundreds of jobs.

In order to survive it adopted a restructuring plan which gained ground in July 2018 after it won over a key shareholder with a sweetened equity offer.

Elman’s decision not to join Noble’s board was made in a statement to the Singapore Exchange. He continues to control 18% of Noble’s equity in the restructured company.

In April, he backed a proposed $3.5 billion debt-to-equity swap that would restructure the company after it improved the terms and announced a board seat for him in the new firm. His backing out of the board of the restructured company comes less than a month after he resigned from Noble’s board citing “amicable differences” with a group of senior creditors and the board negotiating Noble’s restructuring process.

The make-or-break vote on restructuring will take place on August 27, 2018.

Noble has stated it has already won support from 86% of its senior creditors and from nearly 30% of its shareholders, including Elman.

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