Arik share value already eroded – AMCON - PUNCH
BY Akinpelu Dada
The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria has laughed off the suit instituted by shareholders of Arik Air against the Federal Government and Ethiopian Airlines over purported talks to rescue the troubled carrier.
According to AMCON, the fact that the Arik is hugely indebted to various creditors to the tune of over N300bn, and has been taken over by the corporation has eroded the share value of the airline, hence the shareholders have nothing to hold on to again.
AMCON spokesperson, Jude Nwauzor, told our correspondent on the telephone that if the erstwhile owners of the airline come forward and settle the indebtedness, the corporation would immediately call a press conference and hand the company over back to them.
He also reiterated AMCON’s earlier position that it was not in any current discussion with the management of Ethiopian Airlines for the takeover of Arik.
According to Nwauzor, KPMG, the audit firm appointed to carry out a forensic audit of the airline’s books has not completed its assignment, hence a decision cannot be taken yet on the future of the carrier.
Arik Air shareholders have filed a court case against the government and Ethiopian Airlines in an attempt to halt any talk over the sale of the airline, which controlled around 55 per cent of the domestic market.
The shareholders are also challenging in court the takeover of the airline by AMCON.
Nwauzor had told Reuters on Monday that AMCON was not in negotiation with Ethiopian Airlines and would want to resolve all court cases in addition to receiving the report of the receiver manager before taking any action.
AMCON took over the day-to-day running of Arik Air in February in an attempt to rescue the airline after it was unable to pay workers or creditors.
“They have not completed their assignment; they are still having meetings with some creditors,” Nwauzor said, adding that the airline had improved, with some creditors now willing to do business with it and staff being paid.