A purported planned hostile takeover kickstarted by Fidelity Bank has been described as illegal and unlawful by the management of Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) Plc.
Nigerians woke up to the rude shock of the news of how the tier two bank had made moves to takeover the respective boards of Kano Electricity Distribution Company, Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company, and BEDC Electricity Plc.
Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, MD/CEO Fidelity Bank
The move was allegedly done by Fidelity Bank through the activation of the call on its collateralised shares, as a result of the fact that the DisCos could not repay the loans obtained to acquire majority stakes in the DisCos when it was privatised in 2013.
Reacting to the move by Fidelity Bank, BEDC stated that there is no legal basis for the takeover of the company.
In a statement released in Benin on Wednesday, July 6, and spotted by www.theoctopusnews.com, the company clarified that contrary to a viral report, no parties had been appointed as Board Members, Independent Directors, and Managing Director of BEDC Electricity Plc, adding that it is not aware that
any such appointments had also been communicated to the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
The statement by BEDC further stated that there is no contractual, statutory or regulatory basis for such a takeover.
Clarifying the position of things, BEDC said: “For the avoidance of doubt, the shares of BEDC have not been given as security to Fidelity Bank or to any other party.”
“As we understand it, Vigeo Holdings Limited (VHL – a non-shareholder of BEDC) obtained credit facilities from Stanbic IBTC Bank Limited, Fidelity Bank Plc, and Keystone Bank Plc (the VHL Lenders).
“We further understand that the said credit facilities (and any enforcement action in relation thereto) have in the meantime become subject of litigation in a court action instituted by VHL and other plaintiffs (the VHL Action) with Suit No: FHC/L/CS/239/22 – Vigeo Holdings Limited and 4 Ors v. Stanbic IBTC Bank Limited, and therefore, subjudiced.”
The statement climaxed with the management of BEDC Electricity Plc warning that “Any attempt by Fidelity Bank and/or BPE to intervene in BEDC in the manner being reported will be illegal, unlawful and will be resisted.”