Ecobank Urges FBN Holdings to Reject Honeywell Group's Investment

Ecobank Urges FBN Holdings to Reject Honeywell Group’s Investment Due to Outstanding Debts

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Ecobank Nigeria Limited has called on FBN Holdings, the parent company of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, to reject the strategic investment made by the Honeywell Group in FBN Holdings. In a letter from the bank’s lawyers, Ecobank emphasized the “humongous indebtedness” owed by the Honeywell Group and its founder, Dr. Oba Otudeko, stating that the investment diverts funds that should be used for loan repayment.

The letter, signed by Oludare Amusan of Kunle Ogunba & Associates, highlighted that Honeywell Group and Otudeko collectively owed Ecobank a sum of N13,507,052,417.99. Ecobank pointed out that the loans were personally guaranteed by Otudeko, making the repayment responsibility clear.

The Honeywell Group, through its affiliate company Barbican Capital Limited, recently acquired majority shares in FBN Holdings with a cross-deal worth N87.8 billion. However, Ecobank argued that instead of fulfilling their debt obligations as mandated by the Supreme Court, Otudeko had taken steps to divert his assets and funds through Barbican Capital Limited, a company that was hastily incorporated after the court ruling.

Ecobank demanded that FBN Holdings reject the approval or acceptance of the shares purchased by Barbican Capital Limited. The bank asserted that proceeding with the approval would facilitate the diversion of funds intended for debt repayment, which goes against the Supreme Court’s judgment. Additionally, Ecobank requested details of the transaction’s status within seven days and emphasized FBN Holdings’ responsibility to uphold the court’s ruling.

The development adds a new twist to the unfolding situation following Honeywell Group’s investment in FBN Holdings. The outstanding debts and legal disputes between the parties continue to create uncertainty surrounding the investment and its impact on the banking sector.

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