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Ecobank rejects Otudeko's $88m bid for shares in Airtel Nigeria

By The Rainbow

Ecobank Transnational rejected a request by Chairman of Honeywell Group, Oba Otudeko, to buy the bank's 16 million shares in Airtel Nigeria.

The bank said it has no intention to sell shares in Airtel Nigeria at a loss, after reports that Oba Otudeko, FBN Holdings (FBNH) chairman had sought to purchase them at a discount.

Otudeko, an Ecobank shareholder, requested a price of $88 million to buy 16 million shares in Airtel Nigeria, the Financial Times reported citing unidentified people. Ecobank rejected the deal, the FT said.

Jeremy Reynolds, a spokesman for Ecobank, later told Bloomberg that it did not wish to sell these assets at a loss, and no such deal has been agreed.

Otudeko was not available to comment to Bloomberg, said his secretary at Lagos-based Honeywell Group, where he is chairman.

The report comes after Laurence do Rego, Ecobank’s executive director of risk and finance,  told Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last month that Thierry Tanoh, CEO and Kolapo Lawson, chairman planned to sell non-core assets below market value.

Honeywell Group, which invests in energy, engineering, goods and property, also urged Ecobank to approve a $12.5 million write-down of its debt to the bank, the FT reported, citing correspondence it says it has seen.