As SAHCOL Goes Public

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L-R: Managing Director, Vetiva, Mr Chuka Eseka; Chairman, Skyway Aviation Handling Company Plc, Dr Taiwo Afolabi; Director General, Bureau of Public Enterprises, Mr Alex Okoh and Managing Director/ CEO, Skyway Aviation Handling Company, Mr Basil Agboarumi, at a ceremony to announce SAHCOL’s public offering held in Lagos…recently

On Monday the Skyway Aviation Handling Company Limited (SAHCOL) offered 49 per cent of its shares to the public and with its planned listing in the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the company would now be known as Skyway Aviation Handling Company Plc (SAHCO).

The company offered for sale 406,074,000 ordinary shares of 50 kobo each at N4.65 per share.

The company, which is one of the foremost handling companies in Nigeria, is going public four years behind the stipulated time the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) indicated when the former subsidiary of Nigeria Airways, Skypower Aviation Handling Company Limited was sold to Sifax in 2009.

The Director-General of National Council of Privatisation (NCP), Alex Okoh who lauded SAHCOL’s performance nine years after privatisation, explained that the company was privatised when the government decided to do away with some of its assets.

He said since its privatisation, the ground handling company has continued to grow its assets and emerged as one of the leaders in the ground handling business in Nigeria.

He said during the period SAHCOL was privatised, the BPE had the agenda that government is not the best manager of businesses, noting that SAHCOL was previously owned 100 per cent by the federal government before the privatisation exercise in 2009.

According to the BPE boss, privatisation entailed a full 100 per cent sale to Sifax Group in 2009.

“However, rule guiding the sale at that point in time was that Sifax Group would offer to the public certain percentage of the shares through a public offering.

“This is important because we believe essentially that on the issues that what is sentimentally viewed as national patrimony should not be assumed to have been sold to friends or relations to top government officials and we believe that the most veritable channel of democratising the process of the sale of public assets is through initial public offering, which would give Nigerians the opportunity to buy into the public asset according to their capacity.

“That is why we are doing this in time and we would like to congratulate SAHCOL for creating for us one of the success stories of privatisation.

“If you look at the kind of investment that has gone into SAHCOL post- privatisation and significant market share that the business has been able to generate in the aviation ground handling sub-sector, you will realise that it was a smart decision to privatise the company at the time that we did.

“So we hope that the public will take advantage of this offer and subscribe to the shares,” he said.
During the signing ceremony, the Chairman Sifax Group of Companies, Taiwo Afolabi said acceptance list would open on November 12, 2018 while it would close on December 19, 2018.

He recalled that as at 2009, the net asset of SAHCOL was N3 billion, but has grown to N15 billion as at 2018 after privatisation.

He added that since privatisation, SAHCOL had built strong competence as one of the leading aviation ground handling service providers in Nigeria, growing its market share from 21 per cent in 2009 to over 40 per cent at present with over 100 per cent growth in revenue and total assets.

He added: “SAHCO’s future strategy is to create long term shareholder value through the profitable operation and expansion of its business beyond Nigeria and into other West African markets with a vision to become the leading provider of passenger, ramp and cargo handling services in the West Africa sub-region.

“Based on the terms of the executed Share Sale and Purchase Agreement (SSPA) in respect of the privatisation of the erstwhile Skypower, the shareholders of the company are obligated to divest 49 per cent equity stake in SAHCO to the investing Nigerian public, with 10 per cent of the shares to be divested, sold to the staff of the company.”

He said huge investment was committed in the company since its acquisition by the Sifax Group, noting that to make it competitive and to enable it wrest some market share from its rival, heavy handling equipment were acquired by the company, which built the most modern and most sophisticated storage and handling facility in the country.
This he noted took huge chunk of investment to do.

Also, the Managing Director of SAHCOL, Basil Agboarumi, said the company would have been enlisted on NSE few years back, but the level of investments in the ground handling company over the years did not encourage such idea at the time.

He noted that on privatisation in 2009, market share of SAHCOL was just 20 per cent, but had grown to about 50 per cent nine years later.

“We were building a lot of things is SAHCOL immediately we took over from the government. Within the period, we have built the best warehouse and trained and grew our manpower,” Agboarumi said.