Nigeriaâ€™s foremost airline, Aero Contractors, has concluded plans to sell part of its stakes to core investors in its bid to attract more money to fund its aircraft acquisition and boost its maintenance facility.
THISDAY learnt that the airlineâ€™s Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility has opened a new source of huge revenue which is now attracting investors who wish to buy into the company, eyeing the profitability of its maintenance session.
The Chief Executive Officer of Aero Contractors, Captain Ado Sanusi, who confirmed the development at the weekend, said the company shortlisted 90 interested investors, reviewed their quest and narrowed it down to six and at the end would have the preferred bidder, second preferred bidder and the standby bidder.
Currently the airline is owned by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), which is a major stakeholder and has about 60 per cent of the stakes, while legacy stakeholders, owned by companies from the Ibru family is about 40 per cent, but it is expected that these stakes would be diluted with the coming of the investor, which would be given overall controlling shares that could be as high as 90 per cent.
â€œWe are in the process of selecting a core investor and I think by the end of the process, we would have three – the preferred bidder, second preferred bidder and the standby bidder. They would be investing into Aero Contractors as a whole because Aero Contractors share would be diluted.
â€œThey would not buy into the shares but it would be diluted and so they would acquire the shares. Their investment would be to acquire more shares in Aero Contractors. We have two shareholders now, which are AMCON and the legacy shareholders. So AMCON and legacy shareholders shares would be diluted in order for the core investors to come in and have shares,â€ Sanusi said.
The CEO said the maintenance session of the company is becoming a huge source of revenue for the company and because the facility is promising it has attracted many who wanted to invest in Nigeriaâ€™s oldest commercial airline.
The Aero CEO said the company aims to develop the MRO to a level that it would be able to carry out line maintenance for all aircraft types operating in Nigeria and that is in addition to the present level that it carries out maintenance checks on Boeing B737 Classics to C-Check level.
He said South African Technik, A.J Walters of the United Kingdom and Ethiopian Technik have partnered the organisation in a bid to assist in developing the MRO.
The airline has also given assurance to the workers who were relieved of their duties earlier in the year and put on redundancy by the airline, saying that many of them would be re-absorbed.
In fact, Aero has started re-absorbing some of them, as the technical personnel among them had gone back to work at the airlineâ€™s maintenance facility.