Shareholders’ Tussle Hurting Power Disco’s Performance

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Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The operational performances of the Abuja electricity distribution company (AEDC) is now been impacted by the lingering conflict over shareholding structure between its two investors, one of the shareholders has disclosed.

The shareholder – CEC Africa Investment Limited (CECA), which claims to be the majority shareholder having reportedly funded the Disco’s acquisition alone in 2013, stated in a statement that its other partner – Xerxes Global Investment – was yet to pay its share of the acquisition expense totaling the $41 million.

The statement was signed by the Managing Director of CECA, Mr. Emmanuel Katepa, and sent to THISDAY.
In the statement, the investor stated that Xerxes had not shown any capacity to repay the money to CECA six years after the acquisition.

Katepa, noted that he was responding to an alleged statement by Xerxes’ Chairman, Mr. Shehu Malami, who was quoted to have said that it was his goodwill that paved the way for CECA to join Xerxes in the Disco’s acquisition.

He alleged that even with Malami’s reported goodwill, funding was equally important in business and as such both firms needed to raise money to acquire a 60 per cent of the Disco’s shares.

“Xerxes could not but left only CECA to provide funding for KANN to pay the initial $41 million to the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and further provided security cover for the $123 million loan KANN took from UBA.

“Ambassador Shehu Malami failed to address the central issue which remains that he and his organisation are claiming shares for which they have failed to pay and show no capacity to pay,” Katepa said in the statement.

He noted that it was not true that CECA prevented Xerxes from being signatories to the bank account of the company as claimed by Malami, adding that the minutes of an October 2017 meeting of the board showed otherwise.

According to him: “They (Xerxex) were struggling to organise themselves to provide the signatories and we expressed our support. They have not, to this day completed their Know Your Customer (KYC) with the bank.

“Just last month, I sent Mr. Malami the entire bank statements from inception – even when the failure to be a signatory is of his own making. There is nothing to hide and they have as much information as we have access to.”

He said despite CECA’s investments and commitments to the Disco, Xerxes was making efforts to unlawfully push it out.
“Xerxes should answer the question; did they fund the acquisition? Does goodwill translate to funding? The London Arbitration and the Federal High Court in Abuja all ruled in favour of CECA as the major investor but Malami is frustrating the enforcement of our rights as the core investor in AEDC.

“This is bad in promoting President Muhammadu Buhari’s ‘Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria’. It will also scare off investors from the power sector at a time when the sector needs so much Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) to provide increased, stable and constant electricity supply to the yearnings of Nigerians,” added Katepa.