Photo: Reuters / Bobby Yip

The sell-off in Noble Group reached a fever pitch this week as the share price was pummeled to a 15-year low and founder and Executive Chairman Richard Elman announced he would be stepping down after three decades of service.

Noble traded down 46.5% on the week at 68 Singapore cents as of Friday at 4.20pm local time, bound for its ninth decline in the past ten weeks. The weekly plunge cut the company’s market value down from S$1.7 billion (US$1.2 billion) last week to around S$900 million on Friday afternoon. After trading above the S$10-mark just three years ago the stock has since been mired in an extended slump that saw it removed from Singapore’s benchmark Straits Times Index last year.

The commodities trader reported on Thursday a US$129 million loss for the first quarter and that Paul Brough would take over as Chairman while Elman will shift to a non-executive Board position. Noble cited thin liquidity in commodities markets and higher oil prices as a drag on its bottom line.

Elman said in a letter to investors that he had declared last June an intention to step away from day-to-day operations within 12 months and that Noble has already made progress toward achieving a “slimmer business profile.” He cautioned more challenges remain ahead, however, writing: “It will be a long, hard slog with ups and downs along the way, until we regain profitability, a goal that we are most likely to achieve in FY 2018/19.”