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Another Case Of Corporate Bullying Or Hostile Takeover? by Newsbreakers: 3:09pm On Feb 24, 2021
By Irewole O.J

The Access Bank vs. Seplat saga has proven that the corporate world can be more than just transactional; it can also be an infamous theatre of absurdity. Why did I say so? Please read on.

It all started in 2012 when Diamond Bank before being acquired by the entity once described as Nigeria’s corporate bully – Access Bank – granted a facility to Cardinal Drilling Services [CDS] to acquire CDS rigs 101, 201, 202, and 203. The method of acquisition of this loan was a fairly simple fixed and floating debenture over Cardinal Drilling Services’ assets.

The facility, upon acquisition, was agreed to be serviced by CDS at the rate of $85.8 million. Eight years later, by when Diamond had been acquired, Access Bank its new owner reasoned that CDS was unable to service the facility. So, in 2020, the bank decided to activate the sixth clause of the Deed of Debenture. This clause allowed it to appoint a manager or receiver over the assets of Cardinal Drilling Services.

Without understanding the sequence of events leading to this, one may assume this is only normal. After all, the bank needed to take back what is its. However, things took a quick turn from admirable forthrightness in debt recovery to utter ridiculousness as Access Bank then went ahead to list a third party, Seplat, and its chairman as co-defendants in the ensuing litigation. The bank’s slant for this action was that CDS rig 101 and CDS rig 201 were employed in Seplat’s operations the year before (2019). Additionally, the bank believed that all four rigs acquired in 2012 were critical to Seplat’s future drilling plans.

Perhaps the most arbitrary part of the entire saga was that Access Bank claimed, in its filing in the court that Cardinal Drilling Services has Seplat as a sister company jointly promoted by Seplat’s chairman, Ambrose Bryant Orjiako. Moving further, Access Bank accused Seplat of being the real debtor while Cardinal Drilling Services merely functioned as a vehicle smokescreen that Seplat used to subtly obtain the facilities earlier acquired.

Continue reading on https://newsbreakersonline.com/another-case-of-corporate-bullying-or-hostile-takeover/

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