Tag Archives: jeff frase

The burden of Karma is heavy as Noble crosses the gates of death.

Noble Group has the symptoms of schizophrenia. Their delusion and demise were never “their” fault or caused by the actions of “their” traders.

Caught in-between and dancing on losses, the high rollers have painted it as because of : “liquidity constraint impacting trading and earnings generation”. For Noble Group “the problem” must be the exact solution, they have punted for working capital everywhere from the MD&A to the Press/Investor Communication and Strategic Review…

In the financial statements* for the six months ending on 30 June 2017 eloquently sums up the financial substance of Noble Group:

  • Noble presents itself as a  $2B net equity company with an $1,45 MtM unaudited Gains on Derivatives company*
  • The trader has -$763 million negative OCF with a net debt increased by nearly $1B to $3.81B.

* unaudited.

The Energy Segment accounts for 90% of Noble Revenues in 1H-2017.

Noble Group Business

Noble Group Limited Revenues by Segment, 1H-2017

The Energy Segment traded at a loss of $226 million during 1H-2017 (excluding financing costs and salaries).

That’s more than -$1.25 million per business day… Monday to Friday but the business is run smoothly. Of course no.

But in the world of Noble shortlisters rush on a “bargain” 🙂

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“Sale of Global Oil Liquids Sales process commenced with shortlist of bidders–bids expected in Q3 2017”

-Strategic Review Update–26 July 2017

Noble nasty.png

 

Investor Presentation Q2-2017 P.6

Out of Control

The Non-Performance of Global Oil Liquids should not be that shocking knowing the “Book now, think later” at the company. It lacks the management to impart performance.

Noble had two or three large take-of-pay deals in the U.S but the wind has changed as it always does in the physical energy markets.

The burden of Karma is heavy as Noble crosses the gates of death:

The hostile work environment includes daily vulgar and disgusting comments from male employees about vaginas, sex, male genitalia, and verbally abusive language using the word ‘f—‘ explicitly. constant abuse.”*

During 2012-2016, at the office in Stamford, Plaintiff’s seat was next to the gasoline traders which includes video conference cameras connecting with London and Houston offices.

The commentary back and forth on the Stamford desk for everybody within earshot to hear, frequently became vulgar and disgusting. This created a hostile work environment.

*Ramos V Noble Americas Corporation.

It is the last tango act of an unprincipled trader-assaillant.

Noble did the financial engineering for years and years and then the showgame broke. The typical assumption of a 40% recovery rate may indeed be too optimistic.

PwC has signed Noble’s Financial Statements but performance has inevitably caught up the accounting gimmicks.

Noble Group has generated negative cash-flows from the operations to the tune of

-$1600M in 2014
-$600M in 2015
-$900M in 2016,
-330M for Q-1 2017

and -433M for Q2-2017

As of Q1-2017, Noble Group incoherently booked $3,4B of Marked-to-market Fair Value gains on toxic derivatives and commodity contracts.

“In order to produce $3.4B of MtM gains one would have to buy nearly 958  million metric tons -the equivalent of 6937 Capezize cargoes Richards Bay-Qingdao, China or 5 voyages per week for the next 13 years”.

“Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that the $3.4B MtM mark used by Noble Group translates to coal hedges at 479 USD/MT !”“The Argus APi2 CIF Rotterdam futures is in the $60s/mt..

As of Q22017, this MtM mark has been impaired by $1.2B. Paul Braugh did by necessity what Elman, emotionally attached, and Alireza, accelerating the Noble train course to a financial bottomless pit, couldnt do.

A Toxic Legacy

Net fair value gains now stands at $1.455 billion as of end-Jun 17. 

fairtoarrive net equity of $2B* is still rather delusional for a company not producing any plus-value -Noble is losing operating cashflows at a rate between -3.5 and -$6.5M per business day in the recent quarters.

*unaudited financial statements.

Noble’s position is irreparably compromised. 

Noble group has no intrinsic value (by Discounted Cash-Flows).

The firm offers no viable future for patient capital.

Their leverage futures-physical trading model has too much impediments to break-even.


The Noble Files 贵族档案

 

The War on Women

You would think that the most educated people are the most “Noble”.

These 56 pages are a Gold mine of abuse.

Wendy Ramos is head of chartering in the well-known Stamford trading outfit.

She is referred as the oldest employee. The lawsuit states that Ramos was treated differently than at least five male counterparts in terms of pay, bonus and renumeration.

The hostile work environment includes daily vulgar and disgusting comments from male employees about vaginas, sex, male genitalia, and verbally abusive language using the word ‘f—‘ explicitly. constant abuse.”

A Day on the trade floor.

During 2012-2016, at the office in Stamford, Plaintiff’s seat was next to the gasoline traders which includes video conference cameras connecting with London and Houston offices.

The commentary back and forth on the Stamford desk for everybody within
earshot to hear, frequently became vulgar and disgusting. This created a hostile work environment.

It was a constant back and forth across the Stamford desk of sexual innuendo and inappropriate commentary.

For example, on October 1, 2015, there was a discussion around the smell of fish and a women’s body that was extensive.

This happened on the trading floor in an open space. Sushant [Sushant Koduru] left sushi on EL’s (a female employee) desk. EL said to Sushant and the other men that she didn’t want the sushi.

In response, Sudeep  says to Dmitri [head gasoline trader], “EL is offering out her sushi to everyone,” with intonation of a sexual nature regarding her vagina.

EL encourages the behavior an repliesand laughs, “Who wants my fish? Everyone wants my fish!”

The men around me were giggling among themselves.

Then EL comments, “It’s very fresh!” To which Sushant smiled and replied, “I’m sure! Koto Approved.” 🙂

HR Policy “D cups”

On or about, 2015, Plaintiff was told that Jeff Frase (CEO) and

Mike Kerrigan-Human Resources had a meeting whereby they were discussing restructuring (firing) staff.

Plaintiff was told that Jeff said that they had to keep Blair Shrewsbury, a young intern, because she was the only “D” cups on the floor, whereby Jeff and many others laughed about it, including the HR executive.

blanc

Incompetence & Arrogance

The Lawsuit alleged that James McNichol  and his team lost Noble well over 85 million dollars in the year he left Noble’s employment.

James McNichol came to Noble from Trafigura where he had been accused of being the trader behind a deal that unlawfully disposed of oil waste slops in Nigeria that ultimately caused serious illness of multiple people who came in contact with the disposed slops.

Plaintiff’s first experience with James was during a “Team Building” meeting held in

Barcelona Spain during October 9 11, 2009. Plaintiff was asked to attend and give apresentation relating to the Chartering desk. It was clear from the start of meeting that James had his own agenda for the Oil Group.

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Managing the company money.

The entire trading team at the time was in Barcelona where on the first night Plaintiff went to dinner with the group and then to an early night in.

The next day during the Team Building presentations several men were missing. As they showed up in the afternoon hours of the day, the rumor was that the men were not present because they were hung over. As the day progressed, it was said through conversations that these men were out all night at a strip club. After the event, James submitted the “expense” to Ted for reimbursement.

If you run into trouble, just tell a lie to the customer.

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On or about, 2009, on information and belief, James McNichol told the London operations manager, Zelda Harina, that she needed to convince the inspectors to lie about quality outcomes on cargoes.

James wanted her to do this to make more money. She refused to urge the inspectors to lie and she ultimately quit because she would not do what he asked.

During this time at Noble, on information and belief, James proceeded to make questionable trading decisions that were losing the Oil desk millions of dollars.

blanc

 Book now… think later

For example, he took on overpriced storage, taking on multiple time charterer ships for Gas and Diesel without consent from Ted.

The spreadsheet below that shows that Noble at that time had taken approximately 670,000 MT for floating storage versus Vitol (the largest trader in theworld) was 2nd with 300,000 MT than the total trading market.

mogas on water

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Plaintiff sent this spreadsheet to Ted and asked him to do something about James’ injurious actions.

Not only was he hostile to her, now his behaviors were damaging to the company’s bottom line.

However, nothing was done.

blanc

At the end, the unsold cargoes, and empty storage finally caught up to the oil traders, and ultimately James and his team lost Noble well over 85 million dollars in the year he left Noble’s employment.

Can you understand why Noble Group is in a liquidating death spiral ?

Can you understand better Noble Group will soon cease to exist, evidently somebody messed-up big time.

The Noble Files 高贵组文件 研究

How the “core assets” (contracts) are now performing ?

In 9 months, Noble’s operations burnt $801m in line with the expectations.

Oil liquids are the core assets of Noble.

One month ago we asked How the “core assets” (contracts) are now performing ? raising serious  doubts about real profitability of the business line  and its line manager.

“Oil liquids had an EBIT of $646M in 2015, thanks specifically to three deals on Colonial, Magellan and Explorer pipelines.

Knowing that:

  • Noble Oil Liquids operates in the [1 – 1.8] % sub-margin band and accounts for more than 70% of the operating income of the supply chains at Noble.

  • Several traders have cut their bilateral opened-credit lines with the “big swinging dick”.

How the “core assets” (contracts) are now performing ? “

oilliquids

Noble Group 9M-16 Investor Presentation

Note the “However, physical and pipeline flows in the various liquids products remained strong”-Strong deals in the  red  should be added.

Noble has confirmed that it is losing money since  at least 8mth on the pipelines as we predicated earlier.

To  get  a good appreciation of the situation, one has to go back 2015 take snapshot 9M2015 and realize that the credit lines have been backed by  the ebitda  indestructibility of the Noble oil  liquids segment.

nobleliquids2015.jpg

Noble Group,  Financial  Presentation, 9M-2015

We are in the lose-lose phase and simply cannot believe the banks will go unprotected warehousing the revolving credit facility (RCF) risks.

The credit swap is pricing a default.

The Noble Files 贵族档案

How the “core assets” (contracts) are now performing ?

products

“One trader in the states keeps making huge money every year on pipeline deals, without him the story of oil liquids as a whole would be completely different.”*

 

  • Oil liquids had an EBIT of $646M in 2015, thanks specifically to three deals on Colonial, Magellan and Explorer pipelines.
  • In the past because they had just to sit  and were making money.
  • Now the majority of these deals are the red, some are losing -1c/gal/cycle, the trader has to keep losing money only to conserve its priority on the lines and fill its contracts until an arbitrage arise.
  • It is publicly known that the value of the lines have dipped into negative values for the shippers like Noble (implying no price arbitrage) –
    e.g

    the Positive MTM Fair Value MTM that the trader has on these commodity contracts has also to be marked down.

  • The trader has no refineries and unlike BP and Shell cannot afford to lose money each day in transportation to regain everything in cracking margins and volume % market share.
  • It is well-known that Noble is Asia’s largest commodity trader but its role in America has remained largely ignored in the public.
  • FYI Noble Oil liquids is shipping in excess of 1 million barrels per day, it is the largest gasoline blender in North America.

 

Knowing that:

  • Noble Oil Liquids operates in the [1 – 1.8] % sub-margin band and accounts for more than 70% of the operating income of the supply chains at Noble.
  • Several traders have cut their bilateral opened-credit lines with the “big swinging dick”.

 

How the “core assets” (contracts) are now performing ?