The Chief Executive Officer of 3A Auctions Limited, Abimbola Akingboye, in this interview, speaks on how his company recently delivered a jet it auctioned late last year to its new owner in the United States and why the service must be taken seriously in developing economies
Your company recently delivered the private jet it helped auctioned late last year to the new owner in the United States of America. What does this portend for the company going forward?
3A Auction has had one vision since inception: solving problems. This has and will continue to be the driving force behind our activities. Taking delivery of the jet simply reiterates our passion for the business and to ensure that our processes are followed to the letter; guaranteeing security and a safe process for both buyers and sellers,
You are not known to be grounded in aviation matters, how did you pull this through?
We don’t claim to be professionals in every sphere, which is why we partner with only the best in different fields to guarantee a seamless process. In this case, we enlisted the assistance of professionals in the aviation industry.
You just told us that you had to involve professionals to help with some technicalities. Why did you have to do this considering the cost?
If it were easy, everyone would do it. To do things the right way is to incur extra cost. But in doing so, we have shown fellow professionals and the world at large that we are willing to do what it takes, following the right steps and not cutting corners. This way, we are certain that the process is hitch free.
Was bringing in these professionals a demonstration of your commitment to professionalism and thoroughness or it was just a one off thing?
Partnering with professionals in order to facilitate the successful completion of an auction will definitely be ongoing. The only way to do a thing is the right way. We are building a business culture of excellence and professionalism that will set the pace for all others to follow.
Will you be doing this in subsequent auction exercises?
If anything, our processes will get improved. There are always better ways of making the Auction exercise easier, and we will employ all resources in our power to do so.
Nigerians still believe it is better keeping unwanted assets rather than selling them off. What message do you have for these people?
In the western world, assets that are no longer being actively utilised are often sold at auctions. Buyers bid for these items and either repair or renovate such items for resale or reuse, oftentimes doubling their capital. We believe that once Nigerians see how this will benefit them, auctioning will be the order of the day.
The economy is in dire straits. Do you think people will have enough money to buy assets at this time?
This is the period when people are buying the most and travelling the most. This is also the time when people are trying to transform assets into cash. We are merely here to facilitate that process. And from the reception thus far, we are expecting even greater sales.
Is that why you are using an auction model?
I think the reason why I decided to use auction model is because I have come to realise how much is being under-utilised in Nigeria.
In the Western world, it is quite common to purchase assets at auctions below market value from banks, insurance companies, etc. Insurance companies, for instance, sell a burnt property or accident vehicle as it is. If the property was initially worth $500,000, they may decide to sell it for $150,000 or $170,000. This item is bought by a bidder and renovated for, say, $100,000, bringing capital spent to a total of $250,000. The asset would then be sold for oftentimes double the amount!
This is one major area we are yet to maximise in Nigeria. A lot of individuals and organisations have in their possessions unutilised assets while there are prospective investors right here in Nigeria.
So I thought to create a platform that will give people that opportunity to sell these assets. A while ago, a friend’s father passed on and his family sought ways to dispose of his property. It stood in the market for over a year and I remember thinking how easily this would have sold if there it had been brought before the wide audience of bidders at an auction.
Auctioning will speed up asset disposal and give opportunities to both buyers and sellers to buy below market price and dispose of assets at an accelerated rate.
So the time is now; when people can actually buy property cheaper?
Yes. Bear in mind that this is not just for property, but general assets: vehicles, vessels, heavy machinery, jets, etc.
You have an auction platform for real estate. How do you plan to make it credible? It is a new niche and due to the skepticism of Nigerians to new products or platform, how do you plan to make it credible?
The issue is about transparency, integrity and excellence. Our terms and conditions are fair and clear. For example, sellers and their relatives are prohibited from bidding on their own items at the risk of facing set penalties. In addition, if an asset is expected to sell at a certain figure but is able to sell at a higher figure, the additional profit remains with the seller. So it is a thing of integrity. All auctions are recorded live. And so, in the case of any uncertainties or where there is need for some clarification, our archives are open for perusal. All these exclude the detailed verification process every asset up for auction is put through.
What are the latest innovations you are building apart from being an auction model?
We live in the 21st century where people want to sit in the comfort of their homes and get things done. So if this business is to survive this new age, then IT has to be taken into consideration. So while live auctions are ongoing, registered and verified bidders from all around the world can take part and bid live via our website.
Going forward, what should clients expect from 3A Auctions in 2017?
We will hold our first auction for the year in February following which there will be several more. However, as part of our Corporate social responsibilities, we will be holding the first ever Charity Auction in the second quarter of the year. This auction will showcase items up for bid from recognised individuals and bodies who will be partnering with us to fund select non-governmental organisations. There will be more to come on this soon.