Following the takeover of PAN Nigeria Limited, Kaduna, the new core investor, Nesbitt Investment Nigeria Limited, has announced plans to inject a total of $150 million (about N5.7b) in the next three years to “awaken this huge sleeping giant of immense economic potential.”
The formal handover at the Kakuri factory confirmed Daily Sun’s story on this page weeks ago (on Monday, September 21), in which it was exclusively reported that the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) was concluding plans to sell the premier auto plant to new venture capitalists.
Speaking at the handover ceremony on Monday, October 19, PAN Nigeria chairman, Hon. Ahmed Wadada Aliyu, said the new owners were humbled and fortunate to be in the saddle, even as he thanked AMCON for the opportunity to undertake the task of repositioning the once leading auto maker in the country.
Aliyu explained that the N5. 7 investments would be funneled into retooling and upgrading of the assembly line, support infrastructure, and working capital.
The PAN chairman further remarked, “We treasure our human capital and strongly believe in them to drive our visions and aspirations for PAN Nigeria, and that is why we are immediately putting in place an attractive condition of service that will retain and motivate our human capital and also attract the best hands, so as to restore the company to its number one position in Nigeria and within the ECOWAS region.
“PAN under the supervision of the board shall undergo massive restructuring, and in doing so, we shall observe strict corporate governance, transparency, business integrity, efficiency and ethics, in all our undertakings
“As the core investor, we strongly believe in the principle of responsible, responsive and sustainable investments, while we add not only financial muscle and strength, but also social value to the investments we embark on. We will not only be providing employment, but we shall also provide economic benefits throughout the supply chain and to local service providers (local content).”
Lamenting the unfavourable figures which showed that at least 400,000 used (tokunbo) cars, compared to only 68,000 brand new vehicles, were imported into the country in 2019, the Nesbitt team pledged to redress the imbalance by ensuring that PAN Nigeria introduces new brands of vehicles that would be affordable to the buying public across the country.
“We will also be introducing a robust car financing scheme which will be a collaboration and partnership between our dealerships and a few selected banks. This will be in fulfillment of President Buhari’s wish for Nigerians to afford brand new vehicles,” Aliyu said.
As the resurging number one assembly plant in the country, PAN, he pledged, would take the lead in engaging stakeholders like the National Assembly; Federal Ministry of Trade, Industry; and Investment, National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC); Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), among others, to take the automotive industry out of the woods.
The chairman, however, expressed deep concern over a situation where a good number of the more than 50 assembly plants approved as part of the Nigeria Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) have not made any matching investments, but are enjoying the incentives spelt out in the auto policy.
“PAN Nigeria will initiate conversations with the NADDC to enforce the assembly classification and equipment standardisation.
“We will be appealing to the Central Bank of Nigeria to support us and all other genuine assembly plants, so that foreign exchange is made available for our imports.”
He appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to fast-track the legislative process that would lead to the NAIDP Fiscal Incentive and Guarantees Bill being passed again and signed into law, to enhance its effective implementation by the NADDC.
As the construction of a new Peugeot plant by another company reaches advanced stages also in Kaduna, it was not certain if the new PAN Nigeria brand and product line-up will include the roaring lion-badged vehicles with French DNA that once ruled the Nigerian market..
But, industry watchers believe that with the huge capital inflow, right product (vehicle) mix, and efficient management, there is sunshine on the company’s horizon.
Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Limited (PAN), now PAN Nigeria Limited, was inaugurated 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. It had installed capacity for 20,000 cars in one shift.
There was, however, a later switch in ownership when the Federal Government divested its interest as part of the Olusegun Obasanjo’s privitisation programme which commenced in 2005, following which a leading Peugeot partner, ASD Motors, emerged the core investor.
However, in 2012, AMCON took over the management of the auto maker until the new core investor, Nesbitt Investment Nigeria Limited, struck a deal with the asset management authority recently, after indications of interest over the past eight years by investors, including some of Nigeria’s largest conglomerates.