By kayode Tokede, Lagos –

Contrary to media reports, Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has denied discussion with Ethiopian Airlines over the sales of Arik Air Limited (Arik)

According to AMCON, Arik has failed in the payment of its debts in excess of N300 billion to the corporation.

Head, Corporate Communications, AMCON, Mr. Jude Nwauzor in a statement said, the corporation is not aware of any current discussion or negotiation with the management of Ethiopian Airlines regarding over Arik Air Limited (Arik).

He said, Arik in 2016 was placed in receivership following its inability to pay AMCON and other creditors in Nigeria and around the world.

“Our attention has been drawn to a barrage of media reports, which claimed that there are discussions going on with Ethiopian Airlines for the carrier to render management services to Arik. Contrary to these reports, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) is not aware of any current discussion or negotiation with the management of Ethiopian Airlines regarding Arik.

“Arik was placed in receivership last February, following the airline’s inability to repay debts in excess of N300 billion to AMCON and other creditors in Nigeria and around the world.

“It is on record that the Receivership Team has within the period stabilised the operations of the airline, marked by stability of schedules; improved On-Time-Performance (OTP) and revamped customer service among others. Today, the Airline has regained its dominance as the most reliable carrier in the country with growing passenger patronage and confidence.

“The general public and all stakeholders will be kept duly informed on issues relating to the airline’s divestment plan,’’ the statement read in part.

LEADERSHIP last week reported that Ethiopian Airlines had submitted a formal offer to take charge of troubled carrier Arik, which accounts for more than half of Nigerian air passenger traffic.

“We have outlined our terms and conditions to the Nigerian government and we are waiting to see if they agree,” Esayas WoldeMariam, Ethiopian’s managing director of international services, said.  “We are capable and desirous of handling the airline.”

WoldeMariam did not specify details of the offer, but added that he expects to face competition for Arik from international airlines.