The Honeywell group has issued an official statement saying that its loans were being serviced. It said that its loan obligation to the bank had reduced by thirty percent in the last two and a half years. It issued the statement in Lagos.
The company stated that it had a relationship with the bank since 1972 and invested in it about a decade later.
This statement came after the CBN gave the company 48 hours to repay the loan or else it will take punitive action against it for insider borrowing.
The Chairman Honeywell Group, Oba Otudeko, also served as Chairman of FBN Holdings PLC until he was kicked out along with other directors on Thursday by the apex bank last week.
The apex bank had noted in a letter on Wednesday that First Bank had yet to comply with regulatory directives on divesting its interest in Honeywell despite several reminders.
In addition, the CBN asked First Bank to forward evidence involving the divestment of interest in Honeywell Flour Mills groups and Bharti Airtel Nigeria Ltd within 90 days according to a report by Punch.
The statement read: “In 2015, First Bank under the directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria, drew our attention to a 2004 circular (BSD/9/2004) which requires that insider related facilities must not exceed 10 per cent of paid-up share capital.
“Based on this directive we subsequently entered negotiations with the bank to agree an appropriate repayment structure and the final negotiated position was duly approved by the CBN.
“In addition to the above, First Bank, on the directive of CBN, requested additional security in the form of FBN Holdings Plc shares held by the Chairman of Honeywell Group, Dr Oba Otudeko citing a 2001 circular. This was duly provided through an authorisation to place a lien on the shares”.