Shares in Singapore-listed Noble Group have taken a heavy blow today in the wake of its profit warning earlier this week.

In their return to trading after a public holiday, shares have dropped by 22 per cent after the commodity trader blamed a “dislocation” in coal markets for a likely $130m loss in the first quarter. The company is due to release earnings later today.

The company has raised cash from shareholders to strengthen its balance sheet and sold significant chunks of its business, including a highly cash-generative US power unit and its agricultural operations. It is now focused largely on coal and oil trading.

Once the largest independent commodity trader in Asia, the Hong Kong-based company managed to eke out a small profit for 2016, avoiding a second annual loss.

But that net profit of $8.1m was flattered by a $91m tax credit, and Noble suffered a large cash outflow of almost $600m as nervous lenders and counter parties reduced credit lines.

(Chart: Bloomberg)

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