时间:2022-1-3 作者:攀登英语网


Noble Group, the commodity trader fighting allegations of aggressive accounting, has raised $750m from the sale of its stake in an agricultural joint venture with Cofco, China’s state-backed grain trader. 大宗商品交易商来宝集团(Noble Group)已出售其在与中粮集团(Cofco)农业合资企业的股份,回笼7.5亿美元资金。中粮集团是中国国有粮食贸易商。而来宝集团正在应对会计操作出格的指控。

The Hong Kong-based company has been scrambling to raise cash to avoid losing its investment grade credit rating, which is crucial to the profitability of its core business of moving millions of tonnes of raw materials around the world. 总部位于香港的来宝集团近来忙于筹集资金,以免失去其投资级信用评级,这种评级对于其核心业务(在世界各地从事大量原材料的贸易)的盈利能力至关重要。

Noble, which is listed in Singapore, had been given until early next year by rating agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s to raise at least $500m in cash or face being cut to junk status. 在新加坡上市的来宝集团面对评级机构穆迪(Moody’s)和标准普尔(Standard & Poor’s)的“通牒”:最迟在明年初筹集至少5亿美元,否则将面临被下调至垃圾级。

“After completion of this transaction, Noble Group’s financial metrics will be well in excess of those required for an investment grade credit,” the company said in a statement. “这笔交易完成后,来宝集团的财务指标将远远超出投资级信用评级的要求,”该公司在一份声明中表示。

However, the company will be forced to book a $546m loss on the sale of its stake in Noble Agri, which was valued on its balance sheet at $1.34bn. This will “materially” affect its profits for the year to December, the company said. 不过,该公司将被迫计入出售所持来宝农业(Noble Agri)股份的5.46亿美元损失,这块业务之前在来宝资产负债表上的估值达到13.4亿美元。该公司表示,这将对其截至12月的全年盈利产生“实质性”影响。

Noble Agri employs about 12,000 people in 25 countries, and includes operations ranging from oilseed crushing plants in China to sugar mills in Brazil. In May it hired Matthew Jansen of Archer Daniels Midland as its chief executive. 来宝农业在全球25个国家雇用约1.2万人,业务包括中国的油籽压榨厂和巴西的糖厂。今年5月,该企业聘请了阿彻丹尼尔斯米德兰(Archer Daniels Midland)的马修扬森(Matthew Jansen)担任首席执行官。

The business has been a drag on Noble Group’s earnings this year, which have fallen in spite a strong performance in its North American oil business. 该企业今年拖累了来宝集团的盈利。尽管北美石油业务表现强劲,但集团盈利仍出现下降。

It operated at a loss in the nine months to September, hit by weak sugar prices and rain which affected the harvest in Brazil. 在今年前9个月,该企业遭受经营亏损,主要是受到疲弱糖价和大雨(影响了巴西的收割)的打击。

Noble said proceeds from the sale could rise by a further $200m if Noble Agri is sold or listed on a stock market by Cofco. Noble will also be released from guarantees over a $2.55bn borrowing facility. 来宝集团表示,售股所得可能再增加2亿美元——如果中粮集团出售来宝农业,或安排其上市。来宝集团还将解除25.5亿美元借款安排的担保。

Cofco paid $1.5bn for its 51 per cent stake in Noble Agri last year. It subsequently placed the holding, along with its stake in Dutch grains trader Nidera, into a new company with China Investment Corp, the sovereign wealth fund. 中粮集团去年斥资15亿美元购得来宝农业51%股权,随后将这块股份,连同其在荷兰谷物交易商奈德拉(Nidera)所持股份,注入其与主权财富基金——中国投资公司(CIC)成立的一家新公司。

This was part of a plan to create an integrated international agricultural trader with the muscle and reach to compete with the agricultural “ABCDs” — Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge, Cargilland Louis Dreyfus Commodities. 这是一项宏大计划的一部分,目的是创建一家综合性的国际农产品交易商,在实力和触角可及的范围上足以抗衡全球四大粮商:阿彻丹尼尔斯米德兰、邦吉(Bunge)、嘉吉(Cargill)以及路易达孚(Louis Dreyfus Commodities)。

At an FT conference in Switzerland earlier this year, Ning Gaoning, Cofco’s chairman, laid out plans to turn the company into a publicly listed global powerhouse. 今年早些时候,中粮集团董事长宁高宁在英国《金融时报》在瑞士举办的一次会议上阐述了相关计划,拟将中粮打造成为一家公开上市的全球大公司。

He said he wanted Cofco to be an international company, adding that he planned to expand in North America, a big surplus grain producer. 他表示,他希望中粮集团成为一家国际公司,并补充说,他计划在北美这个大粮仓扩张。

“I have said since we acquired our initial stake in Noble Agri that we have every confidence in its vision and its new leadership,” Mr Ning said in a statement. “自我们最初入股来宝农业以后,我已经说过,我们对它的愿景和新领导班子有充分信心,”宁高宁在一份声明中表示。

“In terms of our expectations in the critical global agribusiness sector, I trust our decision to acquire 100 per cent speaks for itself.” “就我们对关键的全球农业行业的期望而言,我相信我们买下100%股份的决定本身已经说明了一切。”

For Noble the sale brings to a close a difficult year in which its share price has fallen by 61 per cent, reducing its market value to $2.1bn, because of questions over its accounting practices and its inability to generate cash consistently. 对来宝而言,售股之举为艰难的一年画上句号,今年其股价下跌了61%,市值缩水至21亿美元,原因是其会计做法引发质疑,同时未能持续产生现金。

A group called Iceberg Research — which Noble claims is the work of a disgruntled former employee — alleged that the company inflated asset values and booked profits on deals long before receiving any cash from them. 名为“冰山研究”(Iceberg Research)的一个团体——来宝称这是一个心怀不满的前雇员所为——声称,该公司夸大资产价值,并在收到交易的收入之前就把利润计入账目。

Noble has defended itself against the accusations and had PwC review how it accounted for its long-term commodity deals. The auditor concluded the deals fell within international standards. 来宝集团针对相关指控为自己作出了辩护,并请普华永道(PwC)审核其对大宗商品长期交易的入账方式。这家审计机构得出结论称,此类交易符合国际标准。

“We are delighted to have been able to enhance our liquidity significantly while also delivering on our commitments,” said its chief executive Yusuf Alireza in a statement. “我们很高兴能够显著增强我们的流动性,同时兑现我们的承诺,”来宝首席执行官优素福阿里雷扎(Yusuf Alireza)在一份声明中表示。

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