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Arik Air ownership can be reclaimed upon settling debt – AMCON



The Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has advised Arik Air’s Chairman, Johnson Arumemi-Ikide, to devise a plan for debt recovery if he wishes to regain ownership of the airline.

This counsel was given by AMCON’s managing director, Mr Ahmed Kuru, during a media interaction in Lagos State, the News Agency of Nigeria reported.

AMCON, acting as the Federal Government’s specialized debt recovery entity, assumed control of Arik Air in February 2017 due to severe mismanagement by the airline’s owners and debts exceeding N300 billion, which were pushing the airline towards imminent collapse.

Arik had previously called for an amicable settlement of its debts in 2018 and 2022, which were welcomed by AMCON and Arik Air (in receivership) but ultimately failed to materialize.

AMCON’s MD emphasized that once a reasonable debt settlement with AMCON and the banks is reached, the receivership will be terminated, and Arik Air Limited will be returned to its shareholders/owners along with all documents and securities held by the airlines and the banks.

Kuru stressed that despite any negative portrayal of AMCON, it is primarily a resolution agency that supports businesses in the interest of the Nigerian economy.

Kuru invited Arik’s owners to engage in discussions to create a repayment plan, emphasizing that AMCON is willing to collaborate with them and seek and seek approval from the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Ministry of Finance once an agreement is reached.

His words:

Kuru also mentioned that AMCON has successfully resolved more complex cases in the past, such as those involving banks, oil and gas, manufacturing, real estate, and telecommunications.

The managing director expressed concern about a campaign by some AMCON debtors to portray the corporation’s recovery efforts negatively and noted that many debtors overlook the significant problems their debts have caused the country.

He recalled that Arik Air was in dire straits when AMCON intervened, facing issues like non-payment of staff salaries, insurance, and aviation fuel shortages, which had damaged its reputation and relationships with international partners.

Kuru asserted that without AMCON’s intervention, Arik Air would have collapsed within two weeks.

He mentioned that upon learning of the impending closure of AMCON, certain debtors chose not to answer its calls. According to AMCON’s managing director, these debtors believe that AMCON would imminently cease operations, resulting in the government forgiving their debts.

Kuru emphasized that the gradual winding-down process of AMCON would not permit any debtor to escape their financial obligations, reaffirming that no government would tolerate debtors evading their responsibilities.