FG terminates BFIG’s offer to buy ALSCON
By EMMA UJAH, Abuja Bureau Chief & SONI DANIEL, Regional Editor, North
ABUJA — The Federal Government has terminated the offer it made to the BFI Group, BFIG, to buy majority stake of the Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria, ALSCON, Ikot-Abasi, Akwa Ibom State.
A statement by the Head of Public Communications of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, Mr. Chigbo Anichebe, in Abuja, yesterday, indicated that the cancellation was sequel to BFIG’s failure to execute the Share Purchase Agreement, SPA, as well as, non-payment of the 10 per cent of the bid price.
Meanwhile, BFIG has returned to the Supreme Court to seek redress over the cancellation of the offer, claiming that the BPE had refused to comply with the order of the court, in refusing to execute the SPA, and its refusal to furnish the proposed investors with the bank details into which to pay the initial 10 per cent.
Interestingly, RUSAL, the Russian company to which BPE sold ALSCON and which has been running the plant since 2008, yesterday, at a separate briefing in Abuja, also announced it had to suspend aluminum production until the vexed issue of ownership was resolved, among other factors.
BPE’s statement reads in full:
“The National Council on Privatisation, NCP, has approved the termination of the offer to purchase 77.5 per cent of Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria, ALSCON, by BFI Group Corporation following their inability to pay the agreed 10 per cent of the offer price within 15 working days of the execution of the Share/Sales Purchase Agreement (SPA) as directed by the Supreme Court.
“The deadline for the execution of the SPA and payment of the 10 per cent of the offer price elapsed at midnight Nigerian time on the 18th day of March, 2013 and as at that deadline date, the BFIG had neither executed the SPA nor made the initial mandatory 10 per cent payment of the bid amount.
“As you may recall, the Supreme Court of Nigeria, in a July 6, 2012 judgment awarded ALSCON, located in Ikot-Abasi, Akwa-Ibom State, Nigeria, to BFI Group Corporation.
“In compliance with that judgment, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), as a responsible and a law abiding government agency, transmitted an offer letter and the Share Sales/Purchase Agreement (SPA) in respect of ALSCON to BFIG. This followed the directive of the National Council on Privatisation, NCP, chaired by the Vice President, Arc. Mohammed Namadi Sambo, which met at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on January 22, 2013.
“BFIG, the plaintiffs in the suit at the Supreme Court, were expected to execute the Share Sales/Purchase Agreement (SPA) and pay the agreed 10 per cent of the offer price of $410 million (which is $41 million) within 15 days of the execution of the SPA as directed by the Supreme Court.
“The BFIG, in total disregard of the apex court, drafted and executed an agreement that was different from the one ordered by the Supreme Court”.
Meanwhile, After many months of intrigues, the BPE, yesterday, rubbished the July 6, 2012 order of the Supreme Court transferring ownership to the BFI Group, by cancelling the Share Purchase Agreement it was dangling to the Bancorp Financial Investment Group, BFIG, of America.
But as at the time the BPE was making the statement, the American group was already back at the Supreme Court in Abuja, drawing the apex court’s attention to the refusal of the agency to comply with the terms of the July 6, 2012, order given by the court in relation to the implementation of the SPA.
The company in a motion on notice, dated March 19, 2013, prayed the court to order BPE to fully enforce and give effect to the meaning of the July order of the court by signing and executing the proper SPA with the firm.
It also prayed for an order compelling BPE to take full control of the Assets and premises of ALSCON and prepare same for hand-over to BFIG subject to the payment of the prescribed fees.