NG Eagle: AMCON Planning Strategic Exit From Aviation Sector

Information reaching us from the head office of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) in Abuja has it that the Corporation has concluded plans to float a Holding Company (HoldCo) structure, which will enable it warehouse, effectively manage and sell off all its aviation assets.

Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of AMCON Mr Ahmed Lawan Kuru has been harping on the need for a more strategic exit from the sector, which is heavily challenged especially since the dawn of the dreaded coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that crippled aviation businesses the world over. Apparently to give life to that plan, we gathered from sources that AMCON has applied for Air Operating Certificate (AOC) that would enable it to start a new airline, which has been named NG Eagle.

From what we hear, the new airline would be managed by the HoldCo structure that AMCON has set up. All AMCON aviation interests including Arik Air, Aero Contractors, Afrijet, and others will come under the HoldCo structure to be managed collectively, instead of managing them separately. Kuru had mentioned some time ago that the strategic exit plan, was to float a holding company, warehousing all aviation assets for easy sale.

Jude Nwauzor, Head, Corporate Communications Department who would not give further details regarding the new NG Eagle however confirmed that AMCON actually applied for AOC. He refused to give further insight into the development or when the new airline would commence operations. However, our correspondent can confirm that two fully branded NG Eagle aircraft have been parked at the Ikeja airport ready to hit the airspace anytime now.

Kuru had said recently that the corporation saved Arik Airlines (the largest local carrier) and Aero Contractors (the oldest carrier) from shutting its operations at the nick of time, among others. According to the AMCON Boss, the Corporation has also done very well, especially in the aviation and manufacturing sectors.

He said recently in an interview, “Our intervention efforts in Arik Air with the support and collaboration of the Federal Government did a great service to the growth of the sector. A similar intervention in Aero Contractors also saved the airline from collapse. As a matter of fact, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) certified Aero, which is under AMCON receivership to commence C-check maintenance services on Boeing series in Nigeria. This is a commendable feat in Nigeria’s aviation industry and there are several other companies that we have saved,” he said.

Kuru also said that in an attempt to focus its resources on the recovery mandate, AMCON has identified about 6,000 loans with outstanding balances below N100 million, which constitute only 20 per cent of our current portfolio. This portfolio has been outsourced to debt recovery agents under the Asset Management Partners (AMP) scheme, which has created huge employment opportunity for others. This has enabled the Corporation to focus on fewer accounts, which make up 80 per cent of the portfolio.”

The AMCON CEO insisted that in its reckoning, if AMCON is able to resolve the nearly 2,000 accounts it would have achieved more than 80 per cent of its recovery mandate. Again, he added, “In line with our sunset period, we are tinkering with the idea of increasing the threshold of the AMP scheme to N1billion. We have also classified 350 accounts with current exposure of over N3.2 trillion into a category referred to as Criticized Assets. The resolution of these accounts will be germane to the success of AMCON’s recovery mandate.

“We give special attention to these accounts at top management level and develop strategies for resolving them. The largest concentration is in the energy sector, which constitutes 27 per cent. As we have always stated, one of the major challenges to AMCON’s recovery mandate is the slow pace of our judicial processes. However, we have continued to engage with the judiciary, and we believe that there is now greater awareness about the role of AMCON amongst the Judges at the trial courts as well the Justices of the appellate courts and they have been supportive,” he said.

Kuru further explained that AMCON is fighting for the good of all Nigerians because recovery of these monies and its judicious application to the Nigeria economy will improve critical infrastructure such as roads, rail lines, security, power generation and distribution, mass housing and a whole lot of others.

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