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September 23, 2009

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Wealth fund eyes Noble shares

THE China Investment Corporation, China's sovereign wealth fund, is in negotiations with the Noble Group to acquire shares of the Hong Kong-based commodities trader, sources with CIC said yesterday.

"The deal is still waiting for approval from the board of directors of Noble Group," said a source at CIC.

According to a statement by the Noble Group, the company has reached an agreement with CIC for the Chinese firm to buy 573 million shares for approximately US$850 million, at S$2.1137 (US$1.49) per share.

The placement comprises 438 million newly issued shares by the Noble Group and 135 million shares from trust companies associated with the interests of Noble founder and CEO Richard Elman.

The placement is subject to approvals of the boards of directors of CIC and the Noble Group.

According to Noble, both companies have agreed to jointly invest in infrastructure assets and supply chain management related to agricultural commodities.

Merrill Lynch (Singapore) Pte acted as sole placement agent for Noble. JPMorgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd acted as financial advisor to CIC.

Listed in Singapore, the Noble Group is a market leader in managing the global supply chain of agricultural, industrial and energy products.

The CIC was launched in September 2007 with registered capital of US$200 billion from foreign exchange reserves.


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