BusinessLegal/Judiciary

Stop Honeywell from dissipating assets, Ecobank prays the court

By Francis IWUCHUKWU

A Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, has been urged to restrain Honeywell Group Limited from dissipating its assets pending the hearing and determination of winding-up proceedings action it initiated.

The prayer is coming from Ecobank Nigeria Limited which argued that its assets included but were not limited to Honeywell Group’s shareholding in Honeywell Flour Mills Plc.

Ecobank is further asking the court to restrain the transfer of all shares held/belonging to Honeywell Group in any corporate body, particularly its entire holdings in Honeywell Flour Mills pending the determination of the winding-up action.

The financial institution made the prayers alongside four others in a suit designated FHC/L/CP/1571/2015 between it as petitioner/applicant and Honeywell Group as 1st respondent, in the matter of Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc – the party sought to be restrained/2nd respondent.

Ecobank further asked for an order restraining Flour Mills from purchasing/benefiting from the disposition of any shares held/belonging to/owned by Honeywell Group, particularly the 1st Respondent’s entire shareholding in Honeywell Flour Mills.

Another prayer seeks to void the sale of any assets of Honeywell Group consummated after the commencement of the winding-up action on October 16, 2015, particularly the alleged sale of the 71.69% shareholding of the 1st Respondent in Honeywell Flour Mills to Flour Mills of Nigeria or any other legal/natural person.

The bank further sought to restrain all regulatory corporations “from sanctioning the ‘alleged’ sale of the shares belonging to the 1st Respondent in Honeywell Flour Mills or any other corporate body.”

In the final analysis, Ecobank wants an order directing the regulatory corporations including the Federal Competition and Consumers Protection Commission; Securities and Exchange Commission; Corporate Affairs Commission; Nigerian Exchange Limited to immediately reverse all “alleged” sales of the shares belonging to the 1st Respondent in HONEYWELL FLOUR MILLS PLC or any other corporate body.

In its December 8, 2021, Motion on Notice, Ecobank averred that it commenced its action via filing a petition to wind up Honeywell Group due to its alleged inability to liquidate its indebtedness to the Petitioner.

The bank insisted that the petition was filed on October 16, 2015; alongside a Motion on Notice seeking inter alia Interlocutory Injunctions restraining the 1st Respondent/its Chairman (Dr. ‘Oba Otudeko) from dissipating the assets of the company.

But that despite the pendency of the winding-up action, among others, “the entire business community was awash with the news of the proposed sale of 71.69 per cent of the 1st Respondent’s stake/shareholding In Honeywell Flour Mills PLC to Flour Mills of Nigeria PLC for over N80 billion.

The suit is yet to be assigned, and the other parties are yet to file a response.

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