AMCON asks Arik chairman to present N300 billion debt repayment plan
The Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has advised the chairman of Arik Air, Johnson Arumemi-Ikide, to present a reasonable debt recovery plan in order to recover the airline.
AMCON managing director Ahmed Kuru, gave the advice at a media interactive session in Lagos. AMCON, the special debt recovery vehicle of the federal government, took over Arik Air in February 2017.
The takeover was part of measures to “save” the airline from “imminent collapse,” citing gross mismanagement by Arik owners and debt above N300 billion.
Mr Arumemi-Ikide attempted to reclaim the airline’s headquarters in Lagos in July following a federal high court ruling that faulted AMCON on transparency, the transfer of Arik’s assets to floating a new airline, and the barring of Mr Arumemi-Ikide from the airline’s facilities.
Arik had on at least two occasions—in 2018 and 2022—called for an amicable settlement of the debt, which was welcomed by AMCON and Arik Air (in receivership) but failed.
Mr Kuru said once there was a reasonable settlement of the debts to AMCON and the banks, the receivership would be terminated and Arik Air Limited would be returned to its shareholders and owners along with all documents and securities held by it and the banks.
The AMCON boss said regardless of the campaign of calumny against the corporation, it remained a resolution agency supportive of businesses.
He said, “AMCON is a resolution agency of the government, and we look forward to any obligor or debtor that wants to come to discuss a repayment plan with us. Our doors are always open to resolve debts because that is our primary function, and aside from our recovery mandate, AMCON does not have a secret agenda.
“So the challenges for the founder of the airline to recover his airline might seem difficult but not irredeemable; however, there is always a way out of every situation. There must always be a situation of give and take, and AMCOM is now ready to sit down with the owners of Arik if they are ready to agree on what is good for them and the Federal Government.”
He added, “When we engage and arrive at an agreement, we will go back to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as well as the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and share such a resolution strategy with them.”