SEC assures Ikeja Hotels shareholders of safety investment as Ibru family bickering deepens

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has assured shareholders of Ikeja Hotels Plc, of the safety of their investments in the holding company and its subsidiaries.

SEC, the nation’s apex capital market regulator, through the Communications Adviser to the Director-General, Obi Adindu, said there was no cause for alarm in the holding company’s ongoing board tussle.

Ikeja Hotels is the holding company for Ikeja Sheraton Hotels and Federal Palace Hotels.

Adindu said that the commission was keenly monitoring developments at the company and would soon engage all parties involved in line with the commission’s investors’ protection mandate.

“We are monitoring developments at Ikeja Hotels Plc very closely and engaging in line with our investor protection mandate.

“All this is with a view to making the necessary interventions that will forestall erosion of shareholder value,” Adindu said.

The ownership tussle of one of Ikeja Hotels Plc subsidiaries, the Sheraton Lagos Hotel and Towers, deepened on Jan. 7, as different members of the Ibru family moved to assert authority.

A group led by Maiden Ibru, widow of late Guardian Publisher, Alex Ibru, had on Jan. 7, 2014, on account of the order of a Federal High Court Lagos, held a botched Extra-Ordinary General Meeting (EGM) outside the Sheraton hotel premises.

On the other hand, the other members of the Ibru family, led by Goodie Ibru, through an ex parte injunction from the Federal High Court, Abuja, restrained Mrs Ibru from calling an EGM or representing her late husband’s investment vehicles holding shares in Ikeja Hotels Plc.

Goodie Ibru’s group said that its ex parte motion was sequel to a bitter litigation between the children of his first wife, Helen Ibru, and Maiden, his second wife.

But in a swift development, some shareholders of the hotel, against a court order, on Jan. 7 sacked Goddie Ibru as the chairman and director of the company over corporate governance infractions.

The shareholders, also at the EGM, appointed Olumide Braithwaite and Tunde Sarumi as directors of the company.

They also appointed KPMG Nigeria Ltd to carry out a forensic audit of the management of the company from 1999 to 2014, when Ibru was its chairman.

The shareholders also mandated KPMG to carry out a forensic audit of the share register and verification of the funding and payment for the shares of the company by holders, directly or indirectly, amounting to two per cent or more.

The meeting was presided over by an interim Chairman appointed by the shareholders, Rasheed Olaoluwa, the Managing Director, Bank of Industry (BOI), also a shareholder in the hotel.

The meeting was held amidst drama as the shareholders were barred from entering the premises of Sheraton Hotels following a court injunction granted Ibru by the Federal High Court, Abuja.

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