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Report: Noble Group approached for potential sale of oil business

Rival trading companies have approached Noble Group Ltd. about buying parts of its Americas-focused oil unit as the embattled commodities trader continues searching for a strategic investor in a bid to avoid debt restructuring or liquidation, the Financial Times reported June 12, citing four sources familiar with the situation.

The sale could help the group, which also has interests in coal and aluminum, raise much-needed cash and free-up working capital, as it is also working to further extend a US$2 billion loan facility scheduled to mature this month.

However, Noble Group has been resisting entering talks over the potential sale as it continues to look for a strategic investor to recapitalize the company, strengthen its oil business and help secure new credit lines.

The group's oil unit sells fuels to OPEC members. It also owns and leases storage facilities across North and South America and holds a prime position on the Colonial Pipeline in the U.S.

Noble Group requested a trading halt in late May after shares plunged following a report that China's Sinochem had decided against investing in the commodities trader due to its deteriorating financial situation.