More facts have emerged on why the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) denied the takeover bid of Arik Air made by Ethiopian Airlines.
The authorities of Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s leading carrier, have shown keen interest in acquiring Nigeria’s troubled Arik Air, which is now under the control of AMCON due to its failure to settle over N400billion debt owed local and foreign creditors.
Esayas WoldeMariam, Ethiopian Airlines’ Managing Director of international services, had told the media that “we have outlined our terms and conditions to the Nigerian government and we are waiting to see if they agree. We are capable and desirous of handling the airline (Arik)”.
But in a counter-statement, AMCON’s spokesperson, Jude Nwauzor denied receiving any takeover bid. He rather stated that “Arik was placed in receivership last February, following the airline’s inability to repay debts in excess of N300 billion to AMCON and other creditors in Nigeria and around the world. It is on record that the Receivership Team has within the period stabilised the operations of the airline, marked by stability of schedules; improved On-Time-Performance (OTP) and revamped customer service among others.
“Today, the Airline has regained its dominance as the most reliable carrier in the country with growing passenger patronage and confidence. The general public and all stakeholders will be kept duly informed on issues relating to the airline’s divestment plan.”
This magazine gathered that though the activities of Arik have stabilised under the management of AMCON, Nwauzor’s denial of any takeover bid is far from the truth.
“It is true that Ethiopian Airlines submitted an official bid, but we have other offers as well, so we are patiently waiting to pick the best offer. Nwauzor is only doing his job because that was the management’s decision,” an official of AMCON who craved anonymity said, adding that “we may still accept Ethiopian bid later, but it is necessary to consider other offers first.”
Ethiopian Airlines is Africa’s fastest-growing and most profitable carrier. The airline reported a 10 percent increase in revenue to $2.4 billion for 2015/16, with a 70 percent rise in profits, and passenger numbers climbed 18 percent to 7.6 million.
Ethiopian is pursuing ambitious development at home, with the $345 million expansion of Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport, and abroad, having acquired a 49 percent stake in Malawian Airlines and 40 percent of ASKY Airlines in Togo.