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    Dow Jones Newswires 21 August 2015

    20 August 2015 Attacked by short sellers? Respond ASAP: SGXSINGAPORE Exchange (SGX) on Thursday urged companies under attack by short sellers or through highly critical reports to "provide, as much and as quickly as possible, a full response so that shareholders have a complete picture and can make informed decisions".
    Companies under attack must "be sensitive to the severity of the situation", Tan Boon Gin, SGX's chief regulatory officer, said in the exchange's Regulator's Column.
    "A few listed companies have recently become the subject of reports questioning the veracity of their financials and other disclosures, or other rumours and speculation," Mr Tan noted.
    Commodity trader Noble Group came under heavy short selling this week, with short interest as a percentage of the group's outstanding shares climbing to a record 14.15 per cent on Monday, according to Markit Group data tracked by Bloomberg.
    Since Noble's accounting methods were called into question by an outfit called Iceberg Research, the counter's share price has taken a hit of more than 60 per cent. As at 1.32pm on Thursday, Noble shares were trading at S$0.415, one cent lower than at Wednesday's close.
    Mr Tan also said: "Short sellers, commentators and research firms should be aware that the company is entitled to a right of reply and SGX is willing to allow a halt or suspension pending the preparation of the reply, if necessary, to prevent prices from being distorted by sudden and one-sided criticism. The exchange will also take action if the criticisms contain false or misleading statements."
    "SGX will at the same time closely monitor the company's disclosures and trading activities of its shares, and constantly engage with the company. We will take all action necessary to maintain a fair, orderly and transparent market including working with other regulatory bodies," he added.

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    20 August 2015 Singapore's LTA

    20 August 2015 Singapore's LTA targets tightest spread in years on new bond[SINGAPORE] Land Transport Authority of Singapore has launched a tightly priced offering of seven-year and 12-year bonds, defying the weak market conditions that have dragged stocks and credits lower lately.
    LTA aims to raise S$1 billion (US$710 million), split equally between the two tranches, which can be increased with a S$100 million greenshoe each.
    The issue was kicked off just after lunch by sole bookrunner DBS, which priced the tranches to yield 2.57 per cent and 3.09 per cent, respectively.
    The seven-year piece yields a very fine spread of 5bp over Singapore dollar SOR, something that has not been seen for a Singapore borrower since Housing and Development Board commanded single digit spreads back in 2012.
    The spread on the 12-year tranche was a more typical 20bp. Rival bankers said the pricing was very tight on both tranches, but the deal is attracting good demand from fund managers, insurance companies and financial institutions keen to buy the paper for their minimum liquid assets portfolio.
    LTA, a statutory and regulatory board responsible for national transport matters, is seen as a proxy for the Singapore government. The seven-year paper still provides a bit of pick-up over equivalent Singapore Government Securities, which were quoted at 2.35 per cent.
    The mandate was awarded yesterday. IFR

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    20 August 2015 Fitch:

    20 August 2015 Fitch: Noble's negative operating cash in Q2 2015 to reverse in H2[HONG KONG] Fitch Ratings says today that Noble Group Limited's (Noble, BBB-/Stable) second-quarter results reflect a stable financial profile, despite an increase in debt due to working capital expansion, which will set the stage for stronger operating cash flow generation in the second half of 2015. The reduction in Noble's available credit facilities fits in with the company's business strategy shift to an asset light model, but weakened support from Noble's major banking partners could result in negative rating action.
    Fitch believes Noble can generate positive cash flow from operations (CFO) in 2H15 even though Noble's 2Q15 CFO remained negative at minus US$399m. This is already smaller than minus USD566m in 1Q15, and mostly driven by the USD707m increase in working capital. With this increase, the net working capital scale reached a record high of US$6.89b, even after the deconsolidation of its agriculture operation following the sale of a stake in Noble Agri. This increased working capital scale will support Noble's business expansion in 2H15 and allow it to turn CFO positive.
    Noble's balance-sheet structure has remained stable - its working capital to total debt ratio of 1.16x at end-2Q15 was little different from 1.15x at end-1Q15. Noble's adjusted net debt rose US$542m in 2Q15, which was much lower than the US$707m adjusted working capital increase, and so did not put pressure on its working capital to total debt ratio. Nevertheless, if this trend of using debt to fund business expansion continues, Noble's CFO will remain negative on a sustained basis, which would breach one of Fitch's negative rating sensitivities.
    Fitch is not particularly concerned with Noble's EBITDA to working capital ratio falling to 3.28 per cent in 2Q15, below the negative rating sensitivity level of 4 per cent as the margin weakness was due to one-off effects. The operating loss of US$19m in the metals segment reflects a US$112m fall in profit between 2Q15 and 1Q15 due largely to aluminium premium fluctuations. Noble's weaker EBITDA to working capital ratio was also partly affected by its working capital expansion.
    Fitch considers Noble's strong liquidity headroom an important factor supporting its ratings. At end-2Q15 Noble's available facilities amounted to US$7.7b compared with US$10.2b at end-1Q15. Committed available bank facilities were reduced to US$1.9b from US$3.5b in the same period. Management cut its bank facilities by US$1.8bn in 2Q15 as a result of the change to an asset-light business model following the Noble Agri stake sale and this will help cut its finance expenses. Nevertheless, any signs showing weakening support from Noble's major banking partners will likely result in immediate negative rating action. FITCH

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    20 August 2015 Noble

    20 August 2015 Noble will finally become cash flow-positive in 2H, says Fitch
    Dwindling credit facilities aren't alarming.
    Noble Group's operating cash flow was in the red in the first six months of 2015, but Fitch Ratings believes that the beleaguered company will become cash-flow positive in the second half of the year.
    Fitch said that Noble's will turn cash-flow positive on back of its increased working capital, which reached a record high of USD6.89bn in Q2.
    The report also said that Noble's dwindling credit facilities--the lifeblood of commodity traders--is in line with the company's business strategy shift to an asset light model.
    "Management cut its bank facilities by USD1.8bn in 2Q15 as a result of the change to an asset-light business model following the Noble Agri stake sale and this will help cut its finance expenses," Fitch said.
    Noble's balance-sheet structure remains stable, said Fitch.

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    20 August 2015 Oil prices dip

    20 August 2015 Oil prices dip further after US stock-build, Saudi export rise[SINGAPORE] Oil prices fell again on Thursday as supplies rose both in North America and the Middle East, with US contracts hovering slightly above US$40 per barrel, levels not seen since the credit crunch of 2009, and globally traded Brent falling below US$47.
    US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil already slumped over 4 per cent on Wednesday to hit a 6-1/2-year low as a huge unexpected stockpile build in the United States reinforced concerns about a growing global oil glut.
    US crude inventories rose 2.6 million barrels last week to 456.21 million barrels, the government's Energy Information Administration said.
    Supplies were also added from Canada, which increased exports to the United States by more than 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) over the past week to 3.39 million bpd, according to a research note by Energy Aspects.
    Markets fell further on Thursday in Asian trading hours, with US crude futures easing 0.8 per cent to US$40.48 per barrel at 0630 GMT. Brent was down 35 cents at US$46.81 a barrel. "WTI prices plunged to the lowest level in more than six years after an EIA report showed that US crude stockpiles unexpectedly rose 2.6 million barrels against market expectations for a small decline," ANZ bank said on Thursday. "Despite the weak price environment, the biggest OPEC producer, Saudi Arabia, boosted its oil exports," it added.
    Saudi Arabia exported 7.365 million barrels per day (bpd) in June, up from 6.935 million bpd in May, figures published by the Joint Organisations Data Initiative (JODI) showed.
    The bearish sentiment is also visible in the long-term derivatives market.
    Contracts for delivery of crude oil in the future on the big commodities markets such as the New York Mercantile Exchange and the InterContinental Exchange show the price of oil for delivery in five years' time has collapsed in recent months, implying that traders do not expect a price recovery any time soon.
    US crude prices for delivery in 2020 cost only about US$20 more than they do now, a price difference that falls further when adjusted to expected inflation and interest rates. REUTERS

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    20 August 2015 New Silkroutes,

    20 August 2015 New Silkroutes, NTT Communications sign MOU to develop big data analytics solutionsNEW Silkroutes Group on Thursday said it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with NTT Communications Corporation to develop cutting-edge solutions in big data analytics, cloud-based services in e-government, real estate and facilities management, healthcare IT and energy conservation.
    The MOU was signed between New Silkroutes' subsidiary Digiland Pte Ltd and Malaysia-based telecoms firm NTT MSC Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of the Japan-headquartered NTT Communications whose ultimate holding company is Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation.
    New Silkroutes, formerly Digiland International, a loss-making computer distributor, last month appointed Goh Jin Hian, the son of Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, as chief executive officer.
    Its shares rose 0.1 cent to 0.2 cent on Thursday.

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    20 August 2015 Asia gold

    20 August 2015 Asia gold appetite remains tepid, premiums droop[MUMBAI] Rising prices curbed physical gold demand from Indian and Chinese buyers, many of whom were reeling from losses in the stock market, cutting premiums on bullion sold in the world's top two consumers.
    Spot gold climbed to a five-week high of US$1,141.75 an ounce on Thursday after minutes from a meeting of the US Federal Reserve in July dashed hopes of an interest rate increase in September, as many had been expecting.
    For the first time in a month in India, some suppliers were quoting a premium of less than US$1 an ounce over the global spot benchmark. "In the last few weeks importers took advantage of lower prices and bought aggressively. Now they could even sell at a discount if demand remains subdued for the next few days," said a Mumbai-based dealer.
    Premiums in India, the world's second-biggest gold consumer after China, hovered between 90 cents and $2 an ounce, down from $1.10 to $2 last week, dealers said

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    20 Aug 2015 14:23 CST DJ Atlantis

    20 Aug 2015 14:23 CST DJ Atlantis Resources Raises GBP2.5M Via Placing, 1H in LineLONDON--Atlantis Resources Limited (ARL.LN), a tidal power company, on Thursday announced that it has raised 2.5 million pounds ($3.9 million) before expenses through a conditional placing of 5.95 million new shares at a placing price of 42 pence per share.
    Proceeds will be used to fund project development activities across the Atlantis portfolio and to secure opportunities for portfolio growth.
    The company said interim results are in line with expectations.
    Shares closed Wednesday at 45 pence.

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    Market Talk

    20 Aug 2015 15:24 CST DJ Singapore's RedMart Aiming for Southeast Asia Expansion -- Market Talk0724 GMT [Dow Jones] Singapore-based online grocery-delivery service RedMart said Thursday it has raised $26.7 million in new funding, bringing the total it has raised to $54 million. That should help it achieve a central goal as it moves forward: expanding beyond the wealthy city-state. "We're looking to expand in Southeast Asia," chief executive Roger Egan told The Wall Street Journal in an interview. He declined to specify which markets the startup are eying in the populous region, or to provide a time frame. He added that the company, which has some 530 staff, is also planning to increase the kinds of goods it sells. It now offers more than more than 15,000 products.

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    Market Talk

    20 Aug 2015 13:50 CST DJ UOB Is Most Vulnerable of Singapore Banks to Selling: JPM -- Market Talk0550 GMT [Dow Jones] Of the three listed Singapore banks, United Overseas Bank (U11.SG) is the riskiest to hold, J.P. Morgan says in a note. Its research team says Singapore's banks have been battered down by worries about China trade finance, despite strong second-quarter earnings. "We see the sector being range bound till asset quality comes to the fore. We stay with the view that UOB remains the stock to trim on every rally, and is most vulnerable despite the year-to-date correction," J.P. Morgan writes, arguing that UOB could benefit less than DBS Group Holdings (D05.SG) and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. (O39.SG) from rising interbank lending rates and suffer more from higher debt-servicing costs and weaker currency or commodity prices.

 

 

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