N32bn debt: Nigerian govt takes over Aero Contractors

22 September 2012, Sweetcrude, Lagos – The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, has taken over Aero Contractors, following the inability of the airline to pay over N32 billion debts owed to banks in the country.

According to a statement by an official of the company, who chose to remain anonymous, it can be confirmed that Aero’s debt has been taken over by AMCON.

“Currently Aero is going through a restructuring exercise under AMCON, pending final approval by AMCON board.

The airline is allowed limited access to funds by the banks through AMCON for its working capital,” the official said.

Confirming this, Mr. Omoke Enyi, Aero Contractors Chief Financial Officer, said the airline is allowed limited access to funds by the banks through AMCON for its working capital.

Aero, the preferred airline by multinational oil companies, is Nigeria’s oldest private airline.

With the technical support offered by the Canadian Helicopters Corporation (CHC), the world’s largest commercial helicopter operator, Aero has played a key role in the oil and gas operations in Nigeria.

Aero, which is based in Lagos, says it operates a “combined fleet of around 20 helicopters and 15 fixed wing aircraft ranging from 50 seat Dash 8 to 144 seat Boeing 737-400/500, employing about 1,300 personnel”.

Aero Contractors of Nigeria was formed in 1959 as a wholly owned by Schreiner Airways B.V of the Netherlands. It became a company with initially 40% Nigerian holding in 1973 and subsequently 60% in 1976.

In January 2004 Schreiner Airways was bought by Canadian Helicopter Corporation(CHC) which acquired 40 per cent holding of Aero contractors while 60 per cent majority share remained within the Ibru family group.

Currently, Aero is wholly owned by the Ibru family and is said to be managed by Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, the former managing director of defunct Oceanic Bank.

The Company started in the early 1960′s as an air charter operator.From this beginning in the 1970′s, Aero has gone-on to provide both rotary and fixed wing services to all the major oil,gas and related support companies working in Nigeria and in West Africa sub-region.

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