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Guinness assures workers, customers, says no shaking over Pharma-Deko’s windup suit

Leading pharmaceutical group, Pharma-Deko has filed a winding-up petition against Guinness Nigeria Plc. due to N175,699, 317.99 debt, owed it by the company.

But Guinness, in a joint image saving effort and loyalty boosting fire brigade mission weekend issued a statement assuring its employees, customers and stakeholders of its readiness to contest the alleged debt in court, adding that its solicitors had put up a robust defence to that effect.

Furthermore, Guinness’ management dispelled the possibility of it being wound up, stating that “the amount claimed by Pharma Deko Plc in the court process is an insignificant amount when compared with the revenue, cashflow and balance sheet of the company.”

The assurance statement read in parts:  “The management of Guinness Nigeria wishes to assure its employees, customers, shareholders and other stakeholders that it is capable of meeting its financial and other obligations to its various stakeholders and that it continues to operate as a going concern.”

Business Hilights recalls that in the suit filed before Justice Hadizat Rabiu-Shagari marked FHC/L/CP/69/2017, Pharma-Deko through its counsel, Chief (Mrs.) Williams Akinjide (SAN) is urging the court to wind-up Guinness Nigeria Plc, due to inability to pay an undisputed contractual debt of N175,699,317.99 million. Hearing had been fixed for March 28, 2017.

Other prayers of Pharma-Deko include urging the court to appoint an official receiver, as a provisional liquidator.

The petitioner also stated that its request to wind-up the respondent was pursuant to the Provision of the Companies and Allied Matters Act Cap. C20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

But at the resumed hearing of the petition Friday, counsel to Guinness Nigeria Plc. Mr. Babatunde Fagbohunlu (SAN) informed the court of its client’s application challenging the court’s jurisdiction to hear the petition.

The petitioner had in an affidavit deposed to by its production manager, Olukayode Isola, averred that it entered into a canning agreement with Guinness Nigeria Plc, and as a result of breach of contract by the defendant, an arbitration proceedings was conducted in accordance with the contract on the basis of which an award was made on July 1, 2016.

However, responding to the proceedings, Guinness Nigeria Plc urged the court to strike out the suit in its entirety for want of jurisdiction.

Backed up by its affidavit, Guinness Nigeria Plc stated that by the notice of arbitration dated February 10, 2010, Pharma-Deko Plc instituted arbitration against Guinness Nigeria Plc, alleging a breach of contract and unlawful termination of canning agreement dated July 2006.

Guinness further argued that upon the conclusion of the arbitration, the sole arbitrator published a final award on July 1, 2016 of the sum of N195,167,986.87, which was subsequently corrected and republished on August 1, 2016, in favour of Pharma-Deko Plc.

It, however, stated that upon the counter-claim filed by the Pharma-Deko Plc, the arbitrator awarded the sum of N21,222,421.43 to Guinness Nigeria Plc, thereby leaving a balance of N175,699, 317. 99.

Hearing in the matter continues March 28 for the determination of the substantive suit.

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