SAHCOL opens to public, lists on stock market

Skyway Aviation Handling Company Limited (SAHCOL) will next month open to public investors as it enlists on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).The Guardian learnt that the listing was aimed at improving the financial status of the company, especially to enable it acquire more state-of-the-art ground handling equipment.

It was yesterday gathered that the management and board of the company had met with the Bureau of Public Enterprise and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to make public share offering on the company, which the Federal Government privatised in 2009.

Before the privatisation, SAHCOL was a subsidiary of the defunct national carrier, Nigeria Airways. The company was acquired by SIFAX, as one of its conglomerates in 2009. If all goes according to plan, SAHCOL would be the second ground handling company in the country’s aviation industry to be on the floor of the stock exchange. The first was the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc, which was privatised over a decade ago.

SAHCOL Managing Director, Basil Agboarumi, confirmed the development, saying the listing might happen sooner than anticipated. Agboarumi said: “It will happen very soon. The management and board are ready to offer SAHCOL on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange. We are discussing with PBE, SEC and other necessary authorities to make this happen.”

It would be recalled that the staff of the company through the aviation industry’s unions had demanded for 10 per cent equity in the company, in line with the Section 5(3) of the Public – Enterprises (Privatisation and Commercialisation) Act 1999.

The staff, in a petition signed by the Deputy General Secretary, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), Francis Akinjole, and addressed to the Director-General of BPE, had said that the management of the ground handling company had continued to deny them of their statutory 10 per cent shareholding, nine years after privatisation.

ATSSSAN had recalled that SAHCOL was privatised in 2009 pursuant to the Public – Enterprises Act, but regretted that several years after the exercise, the management had refused to comply with the Act, which led to privatisation of the company.

The workers also expressed fear that the owners of SAHCOL may have acted contrary to Section 5(4), which states that “where there is an over-subscription for the purchase of the shares of privatised enterprise, no individual subscriber shall be entitled to hold more than 0.1 per cent equity shares in the privatised enterprise.”  The union insisted that it was not convinced that this provision was currently being adhered to by the company.It was, however, not clear if 10 per cent of the shares demanded by the workers would be assented to when the public offer is announced by next month.

Source: G Business