Horizon Settles 168m Br Debt for Addis Tyre


The company, however, has still not paid 1.3 billion Br to acquire four enterprises




Horizon Plantations Plc, a specialised arm of MIDROC, has issued a payment of 168 million Br to the Ministry of Public Enterprises (MoPE) on July 25, 2017, to acquire Horizon Addis Tyre after four years of having owned the company.

The payment was made to the Ministry following the agreement that was entered between the two parties on May 10, 2017, to settle their court case which was at the stage of execution and about to auction off the plantation’s properties.

Also, Horizon agreed to pay 121 million Br to the Ministry adding to 47 million Br of interest whereas the Ministry requested the freezing of the court proceeds based on the settlement between the two parties.

Horizon Plantation deposited the money to the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) last Tuesday.

On the same day, it also paid a state dividend amounting to 22.3 million Br, which was 57 million Br when it handed over the company in 2013.

“We have paid the full amount of the money required for Horizon Addis even though we still had more than a year to conclude the payment,” said Akalewold Admasu, general manager of Horizon Addis.

Nevertheless, the company has not paid the due amount required to pay for four remaining enterprises although the deadline given to the plantation was on July 7, 2017.

Horizon bought five enterprises at a total cost of 2.3 billion Br in 2013. The same year, the disagreement between the two parties over the delay of a payment began after the then Privatization & Public Enterprise Supervising Agency (PPESA) sold Gojeb Agricultural Development to the plantation.

Horizon, headed by Jemal Ahmed has not yet paid 93pc of a 1.4 billion Br payment for the four enterprises, which ranges from 40.5 million for Gojeb to 836 million for Limu Coffee Plantation.

“The Ministry is preparing to drop the freezing and open the case unless the plantation pays the remaining due payment properly,” said Wondafrash Assefa, public relations director at the Ministry.

Payments for Limu Coffee Plantation Development Enterprise (Limu), Coffee Processing, and Warehouse Enterprise and Gojeb Agricultural Development, as well as 37pc of the share of Bebeqa Coffee Estate, are yet to be settled, according to Wondafrash.

In the court proceeding lodged by MoPE in May 2015, Horizon attributed the delay of the payment to the depletion of its account because of reconstruction works undertaken on the farms. However, despite this, the Plantation agreed to make the payment in a month.

Before finally freezing the procedure to settle the issue outside of court, the Ministry first brought its case to the Federal High Court Eighth Civil bench in May 2015, after issuing a notice to Horizon, requesting payment for the five enterprises it sold to the company.

During the first half of the just ended fiscal year, the Ministry reported that Horizon accounted for more than half of its 2.8 billion Br of uncollected debts.

Horizon Addis Tyre S.C., formerly known as Addis Tyre, was established three decades ago. The company has gone through many owners before finally being purchased by Horizon.

In 2004, about 61pc of its share was acquired by Slovak Matador Tyre which later renamed it to Matador Addis. Then four years later, Matador sold half of its shares to the German owned company, Hanover. Finally, in 2011, Horizon bought the shares of the two companies and the remaining share owned by the government in 2013.

Founded in 2008, Horizon Plantation was established in 2009, whereas MoPE was restructured from the then Ethiopian Privatization Agency in 1994.



By HAWI ABDISA
FORTUNE STAFF WRITER

Published on Aug 01,2017 [ Vol 18 ,No 901]


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