By Prince Okafor
Following its acquisition of OML 29 after Shell Petroleum Corporation divested the asset, Aiteo Group has dispelled rumour of putting up asset for sale to repay loan acquired from Nigerian banks.
In a statement made available to Vanguard yesterday, by the Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, Aiteo Group, Ndiana Matthew, it said: “It has come to our notice that some fraudsters running a report -for-cash syndicate, about whom we raised alarm so very recently, are suggesting that a portion of the shareholding of the company that holds the asset, OML 29 had been put up for sale to repay a loan.”
The company noted that, they have neither considered, initiated, nor announced the commencement of any plans to sell off any of its stake in OML 29, adding: “The reasons are patently clear, first, since the takeover of the asset we have successfully quadrupled production that it would be commercially inept to consider a disposal of any sort, now.
“Second, there are several legitimate entities that constitute ownership of the oil block, such that it would be practically impossible for us to unilaterally consider disposing of the asset. “
Aiteo also stated that, the OML 29 was indisputably, legitimately and transparently secured in an internationally conducted divestment by Shell.
“The funding of this acquisition was made possible through a syndicated loan involving several Nigerian banks. Since then, we have continued to meet our financial obligations as and when due, like every other responsible, global conglomerate of our stature,” it said.
The statement further reads: “The claim that Bruce Burrows’ recent appointment as our Chief Financial Officer is aimed at finding a buyer for part of Aiteo’s assets is spurious and demonstrates that the publishers’ understanding of the commercial realities in the operation of assets such as OML 29 is shallow.
“All of our stakeholders familiar with our strategic vision can attest that Aiteo continues to invest in the right people to deliver on that vision.
“Mr. Burrows’ appointment is simply to further strengthen our financial discipline as one of the most innovative, reliable and diverse oil and gas companies operating in Nigeria today. Mr Burrows joins a team of highly trained, experienced and world-class talent that currently guide the day to day activities of Aiteo.”