There are strong indications that one of the nation’s largest auto assembly plants, PAN Nigeria Limited (formerly Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Limited), has been sold to a new core investor at N21 billion by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).
The identity of the new owner was yet to be ascertained as the time of writing this report, but it was gathered that the representatives of the company were still putting finishing touches to the deal with AMCON and were expected to pay a visit to the plant in the Kakuri area of Kaduna, any time from this week ahead of a formal take-over.
When contacted last week, the Public Relations Officer of PAN, Oladeji Bamidele, would not confirm the development, because “AMCON has not communicated to PAN officially” even as he disclosed that he too had heard on the grapevine the news of the sale of the 45 year old plant.
Saying that the picture would become clearer by this week, Bamidele stated, “until AMCON communicates to the PAN management officially, everything we are hearing remains a rumour.’
But, a very highly placed insider who is part of the management, but would not want his name in print, confirmed the news of the change of ownership which he described as a very cheery development that would usher in a new lease of life for the plant that has been trudging through a rough financial patch in the past few years.
He informed that the take-over of PAN by a new core investor has been long in coming, explaining that it started from the days of Mustafa Chike-Obi as the Managing Director/Chief Executive of AMCON, but that some of the negotiations fail through including talks with the BUA Group a few years ago.
“I can confirm to you that PAN has been bought by an investor, but I am not sure about the amount you have just mentioned. One thing that is certain is that it is good news for PAN. I see it as a positive development, because these days when funds are hard to come by, this means that the company will be in a stronger financial standing, and can now go to the market and look for funds.”
It was also disclosed to The Sun by other insiders that the Managing Director of PAN, Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed, on Tuesday, September 8, addressed the management and staff at the Touch-Up section in the Industrial Division, where he broke the news of the change of ownership to them.
Also speaking at the gathering, the Executive Director, Finance, Jumat Alli-Oluwafuyi, was said to have mentioned the name of the new core-investor who would be taking over the ownership and running of the plant very soon.
Prior to the assembly, members of the top management were said have tendered their resignation letters which were taken in bulk to Abuja to facilitate the processing and payment of the benefits due to them.
Commissioned by the then Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, on Friday, March 14, 1975, as joint venture between the government of Nigeria, Automobiles Peugeot of France and Nigerian shareholders, the plant was built at the cost of N8.5 million with an installed capacity for about 20, 000 Peugeot cars annually.
As part of the Federal Government’s privitisation programme that commenced in 2005, ownership of the plant which was by then almost comatose, switched to ASD Motors, one auto industry’s largest privately-owned distributors and the leading marketer of the Peugeot brand in Nigeria.
However, in 2012, AMCON took over the management of the auto maker until the new core investor was found recently.
It was, however, understood that the new