Sunday, June 11, 2017 6:46 pm
Shareholders of Arik Air have started discussions with a major investor to partner with the airline and offset the debts it owes the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) and other creditors.
A reliable source told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Sunday that the airline shareholders have held series of meetings with other investors before reaching a firm commitment with the Dubai-based conglomerate.
The source said the company had voted funds for investment in Africa in areas such as airline business, power and agriculture and was looking at using Arik Air as a platform to launch its business in the continent.
“We have been having discussions with investors and 10 days ago we had discussion with a US-based company, but we are having serious discussion now with this organisation, which is based in the Middle East.
“They have a package to invest in Africa and take advantage of the growing economy in the region.
“We have reached agreement on what I will call the sub-heads, but the details will come out in our next discussion; but so far, the discussion has been fruitful.
“They are interested in expanding our operations and will give us additional airplanes in addition to the six we ordered from Boeing.
“So we have to expand our operations throughout Africa and other international destinations with their partnership.
“They are eager to invest in Nigeria but of course, with the support of the Nigerian government, and they said that government support is crucial because you cannot really succeed in airline business without government’s support,”the source said.
According to the source, Arik Air and the company started negotiation last week in London and have reached some commitments.
The source said a team had been selected by each party to continue with the negotiations which is centered on the shareholding and the depth of the debts, which creditors must back with evidence and also operational conditions.
The source also claimed that concerned government officials were aware of the meeting between Arik and the investor.
Confirming the development, the Chairman of Arik Air, Mr Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide, said the investor had started negotiation with the shareholders of the company and so far both parties had had fruitful discussions as negotiation continues
NAN reports that AMCON had on Feb. 9 taken over Arik Air as a result of its huge debt profile and thereafter appointed Capt. Roy Ilegbodu to manage the airline under the receivership of Opasanya.
It is expected that the new investor would offset Arik debts and provide it with operational funds once operational modalities have been reached.
AMCON had put the debt profile of Arik at N375 billion. (NAN)