Three years after closure, Omatek shareholders appeal for re-opening
Shareholders of Omatek Ventures Plc have appealed to the Bank of Industry (BOI) to re-open the company, which has been shut since 2017.
The shareholders made the appeal at the company’s combined five-year annual general meeting (AGM) for 2015 to 2019, which was held in Lagos.
In December 2012, the firm secured a term loan and working capital facility totalling N5.81 billion from BOI for the purpose of financing the procurement of assembly components for the production of laptops. But things awry for the company and it could not service the loan, leading to a court order to take over premises of the tech company.
According to the shareholders, the closure of the company’s flagship factory in Oregun, Lagos, by the BOI has halted the company’s operations, making it impossible for it to record sales from which it could service its loans.
The shareholders appealed to the Bank to engage the new management of the company on resolving the loan crisis rather than continue to lock a production plant with computer stocks valued at billions of naira.
Worried by the state of the indigenous company, the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), the umbrella body of all ICT, had appealed to the Federal Government to intervene in the BOI/Omatek row, saying the country as the company is a major employer of labour.
Briefing the shareholders on the status of the company at the AGM, the Omatek’s Chairman, Dr. Timothy Farinre, said shortly after the demise of the founder, Mrs. Florence Seriki, the BOI appointed a receiver over the facility granted to Omatek. “The case is still in court. BOI’s appeal is slated for hearing at the Federal Appeal Court in Lagos in June 2021. We have been on this litigation since 2017. The operation of the group had been constrained by the receiver order,” he said.
He added the board and management had made appeals for an out-of-court settlement with BOI.
“Omatek is strategic to Nigeria’s ICT sector. We are the first ICT indigenous company to be quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and sold several thousands of quality laptops, smartphones, tablets, AIO computers, several devices, LED lights etc to several ministries, departments and agencies as well as the private sector operators,” he recalled.
On efforts to reposition the company, Farinre said the board and management were looking at inviting fresh investors to inject working capital.