Flour Mills Nigeria (FMN) Plc and Honeywell Flour Mills Plc (HFMP) have said there is no court order halting their proposed acquisition deal.
Joseph Umolu, Flour Mills Company Secretary; and Yewande Giwa, Honeywell Flour Mill Secretary, made their companies stance known in separate statements on Wednesday in reaction to comments made by Ecobank.
Flour Mills had on Monday informed its investors that it had signed an agreement to acquire a 71.69 per cent stake from Honeywell Flour Mills and also a 5.06 per cent FBN Holdings equity in Honeywell Flour Mills.
However, Ecobank Nigeria Plc, in a letter by its solicitors Kunle Ogunba and Associates, warned Flour Mills of Nigeria (FMN) not to proceed with its proposed acquisition of a major stake in Honeywell Flour Mills.
According to the bank, Honeywell Group, the principal company of Honeywell Flour, has not been reportedly servicing its loan as expected, adding that the winding-up proceeding against Honeywell Group Limited is in progress at the Federal High Court, Lagos.
But responding, Flour Mills, in a corporate filing on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) on Wednesday, said the group made the announcement after carrying out necessary due diligence and obtaining appropriate legal guidance concerning Honeywell Flour Mill.
The statement read: “Consequently, FMN confirms that this agreement is not in breach of any subsisting order of court in matters relating to any third party. This further assurance has become necessary in view of the publication captioned ‘Ecobank warns against acquisition of Honeywell Flour Mills, alleges company facing winding up proceedings’.
“Stakeholders are, therefore, urged to maintain their trust in FMN’s management, whose actions are guided by global best practices, as we work diligently to maintain the group’s sterling reputation as one of Nigeria’s leading and oldest agro-allied companies.”
On its part, Honeywell Flour Mill insisted that there is no winding up petition currently pending against the company, adding that its case with Ecobank is before the courts.
The statement read: “It is pertinent to set the record straight that there is no winding up petition currently pending or live against HFMP in any court in Nigeria. There is also no pending court order restraining trading in the shares of HFMP or inhibiting HFMP or its owners from dealing in its assets.
“The issue as to whether HFMP is indebted to Ecobank is still before the courts and the final decision remains the exclusive preserve of the courts. It is also important to state that the Court of Appeal judgement being referred to in the reports did not declare HFMP to be indebted to Ecobank.”