7th July, 2022
By Jethro Ibileke
The management of Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) Plc has assured its numerous customers across its franchise states of continued operations, amidst news of its takeover by Fidelity Bank.
The management in a statement signed by its Corporate Affairs Officer, Ibeamaka Odoh, said there was no legal basis for the takeover of the company following the purported activation of the call on its collateralised shares by the bank.
Recall that the purported activation seeks to take over the respective Boards of Kano Electricity Distribution Company, Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company and BEDC Electricity Plc (the DisCos) over the inability to repay the loans obtained to acquire majority stakes in the DisCos in furtherance of the 2013 privatisation exercise.
But, BEDC plc in a statement released in Benin on Thursday, noted that, “The referenced report also alleges that certain parties have been appointed as Board Members, Independent Directors and Managing Director of BEDC Electricity Plc. We understand these appointments have been communicated to the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.”
The management of BEDC further stated unequivocally that “there is no contractual, statutory or regulatory basis for such.
“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 management of BEDC Electricity Plc warned 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.”
The company, therefore, urged its customers, investors and partners in the electricity business to ignore the trending reports, even as it assured them of continuing smooth operation, and that it remains “focused on its mission to ensure delivery of quality and reliable electricity to the good people of Edo, Delta, Ondo and Ekiti States.”