The shareholders of Arik Air have responded to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), asserting that the airline’s debt exposure prior to the takeover constituted less than 5% of its total value. Led by the founder of Arik Air, Sir Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide, the shareholders released a statement clarifying the airline’s financial position.
According to the shareholders, a forensic review conducted by Deloitte UK in 2014 valued Arik Air at $3.7 billion before the AMCON receivership. The valuation was the result of meticulous assessments of all assets, including worldwide stations visited by the valuers.
Before AMCON assumed control on February 9, 2017, the shareholders stated that Arik Air’s total assets amounted to over N141 billion. They emphasized the need for the ongoing investigations by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) into AMCON’s activities in the airline over the past six years to proceed without interference.
The shareholders’ statement also revealed that Sir Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide had been investigated by the EFCC on February 8, 2017, at AMCON’s behest, a day prior to the airline’s takeover. The shareholders expressed their dissatisfaction with AMCON’s alleged bullying tactics and urged all parties to respect the ongoing investigation.
Additionally, the statement highlighted Arik Air’s continuous engagement with AMCON throughout the years. In 2014, the airline’s management accompanied a team of Deloitte valuers to present their report on the airline’s status to the Minister of Finance, the Central Bank of Nigeria, and AMCON’s management.
The shareholders’ response sheds light on the divergent perspectives between Arik Air’s shareholders and AMCON regarding the airline’s debt exposure and value. As the investigations into AMCON’s activities unfold, the future of Arik Air remains uncertain, prompting stakeholders to closely monitor developments in the ongoing dispute.
“It should be noted that in 2021, Arik Air shareholders through the airline’s Vice Chairman, Sen. Aniete Okon made a public demand for AMCON to file the statement of affairs of the company in order for the shareholders to ascertain the state of the alleged indebtedness, but AMCON bluntly refused and resorted to name calling.
“Now, it is interesting that after over 80 days that the Federal High Court Lagos in suit no FHC/L/CS/1175/2021 ruled on March 31st, 2023, that the Receiver Manager and AMCON should within 14 days of the judgement file the audited accounts of Arik Air since receivership with the Corporate Affairs Commission, the receiver manager and AMCON are yet to obey the court order to file that account.
“In addition, the receiver manager disobeyed the order of the court for unfettered access for the shareholders/directors into the Arik Air offices at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos.”