The Plateau State Government has paid N700 million to debtors to save the now comatose Jos International Breweries (JIB) from total liquidation, an official has confirmed.
Mr John Mankilik, the Chairman of the board saddled with reviving JIB, made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos on Sunday.
He said that that settlement of the debt owed to Diamond Bank, the outfit’s creditors, was a “a major step forward toward the revival of the company.
“When the board was constituted in November 2010, we found that the company was not only totally down but it was also heavily indebted; and the creditors wanted the entire firm dispensed with as scrap to reduce the debt.
“But we struggled and settled that debt; we are already looking toward getting investors to re-start business again,’’ he said.
Mankilik said that the initial debt claim was N1.3 billion, adding, however, that after thorough checks by the committee, it was ascertained that only N970 million was actually owed.
“Of the confirmed figure, we found that most of it was accumulated interests on the principals. We then tried to negotiate with the creditors, especially since the company was no more in operation, and came up with the final figure of N700 million, which we have paid up,’’ he said
Mankilik described JIB as a “very viable company’’, recalling that it was paying the salaries of the entire workforce of Plateau some years ago.
“Also, aside its massive revenue, the company employed 7,000 persons directly, and this is in addition to indirect employees and other multiplier effects,’’ he said.
He said that the board had also been battling with court cases instituted by workers and other contractors that supplied all manners of items, assuring the people, however, that the situation was being “steadily addressed’’.
Mankilik said that the board approached the Bank Of Industry (BOI), which was ready to offer N2 billion for JIB’s revival, adding, however, that Diamond Bank was not prepared to assist the brewery to access the funds.
“At that time, Diamond Bank was not comfortable with JIB’s debt profile, but now that we have settled our debts, we shall return to the BOI and apply afresh for that facility,’’ he added.