Three investors are in talks with the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria to acquire Aero Contractor, our correspondent has learnt.
It was gathered that the airline had attracted 19 investors since it was acquired in 2016 and the number had been narrowed down to six and later three.
An industry source said on Sunday that the investors had met with the AMCON on the possibility of acquiring the airline.
The Managing Director of Aero Contractors, Capt. Ado Sanusi, who confirmed the information, said the investors were looking at all the assets of the airline including its maintenance, repair and overhaul facility.
“There are so many investors that have come forward. They are looking at all the core assets,” he said.
The source, however, stated that the contrary had been the case with Arik Air, which was taken over by AMCON in 2017.
According to the source, Arik has not attracted any known investors except a Chinese company that indicated interest in March 2017, one month after the airline went into receivership.
The Chinese firm was said to have commenced talks with the former management of the airline, but had to allegedly withdraw when it learnt of the airline’s debt profile.
It was gathered that the Chinese investors went ahead to invest in African World Airlines, a Ghana-based airline.
“Since AMCON took over Arik Air in 2017, only Chinese investors indicated interest in the airline and that was one month after the government agency took over. It will be difficult to sell Arik because of the heavy debt burden and the ownership structure,” the source said.
“But, it is not the same with Aero where 19 investors indicated interest and these have been reviewed down to six and recently to three. Those Chinese investors that initially indicated interest in Arik Air have invested in AWA and they aim to take over the West African market with time,” the source added.
An aviation expert and the Chief Executive Officer of Selective Securities International Limited, Mr Ayo Obilana, said that the lack of transparency, due diligence and policy summersaults on the part of the government would make it difficult for the nation’s aviation industry to attract willing investors.
Obilana said the government needed to show sincerity of purpose as well as consistency in its policies to change the poor perception that investors had.
“In Nigeria, government policies change and because of this, a lot of people are very reluctant to put their money in such an economy,” he said.