Shareholders of Arik Air seem to be planning a revival of the company’s fortunes as they seek to regain control from Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) by fast tracking payment of the N160 billion debt it owes.
According to Guardian, shareholders have held meetings with foreign investors and could even already have a deal in place with a Dubai-based conglomerate who sees this as an opportunity to invest in air transport in the continent. Chairman of Arik Air, Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide gave an indication that Arik Air and the conglomerate have opened talks saying, “thus far, the negotiation had been fruitful.”
The arrangement according to Arumemi-Ikhide will include the construction of a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in Nigeria, “if government gives it the needed support”
Despite this piece of good news, one major problem that could likely continue to delay the handover will be the difference in valuation of the debts owed. While AMCON has estimated and submitted to court a debt burden in excess of N375 billion, Arik shareholders insist its total debt exposure, including that of international creditors and local debts amounted to N160 billion.
It seems that Arik shareholders are basing their current deal on N160 billion debt, which could pose a problem if AMCON continues to insist that the debts amount to N375 billion. This situation will definitely need prompt resolving if Arik will return to the initial owners.