AMCON was established through the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria Act, 2010 (AMCON Act), with a mandate to efficiently resolve all problems associated with non-performing loans in Nigerian banks, financial institutions, and corporations.
It was set up to achieve three-fold functions,
- Reducing the level of Non-Performing Loans on the books of eligible banks
- Assisting in the recapitalization of banks deemed to be in grave danger.
- Managing all acquired assets in a manner consistent both with minimum resolution cost.
There has been calls for the winding down of the operations of AMCON based on the fact that the CBN has succeeded largely in restoring stability in the Nigerian financial system which was hit by crisis in 2009 as a result of huge non performing loans which threatened the existence of many banks and saw the CBN intervening in five of the banks with N620 billion as bailout package but many are of the view that the agency is still relevant.
These are the companies acquired by AMCON in recent times.
Wokson International Ltd
AMCON announced in May 2017 that it has moved in and taken over all the assets of Wokson International Limited and that of its principal, Chief Oki as ordered by the Court through Mr. Robert Ohuoba, the Receiver who also received protective orders from the court. The assets, which are now under AMCON include asphalt plants, hotels and several houses belonging to Workson International and Dr. William Oki. AMCON, took over all the assets of Wokson International Ltd in Asaba and Warri, Delta state, due to a ₦ 5 billion debt.
Gateway Portland Cement
AMCON announced in July 2017 that it has taken possession of Gateway Portland Cement Ltd in Ogun State, over the debt of nearly ₦3 billion. The possession followed an injunction against Gateway Portland Cement granted by the Federal High Court Abeokuta Division, Ogun State.
Kanu Nwakwo’s Hardley Suites
The Hardley Apartments, on Waziri Ibrahim Crescent, Victoria Island (Lagos) owned by former international soccer star and Africa’s Legend, Nwankwo Kanu, along with his estranged ex-banker friend, Ayoola Gam-Ikon was taken over by AMCON over alleged ₦ 924 million debt in January 2016. The good news is that the Senate has promised to look into the take-over with a view to an amicable resolution.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) stopped all credits to the airline because of its $200 million debt. In February 2016, the airline confirmed that AMCON had bought its debts which made it the highest shareholder with 50 percent equities of Aero Contractor. AMCON also appointed a chairman for the airline to oversee the running of the troubled airline. The airline is the oldest aviation company in the country. The services of a reputable accounting firm to undertake a forensic audit of the airline’s accounts.
Daily Times Newspaper
The foremost media outfit also fell to the hammer. According to a statement from AMCON, the take-over became necessary having exhausted all avenues of peaceful resolve the huge outstanding debt owed AMCON by the Daily Times Plc. The Federal High Court on February 1, 2018, presided over by Honourable Justice I. N Buba ordered AMCON to take over the Daily Times.
The Federal Government of Nigeria once held 96.05 percent share in Daily Times through NICON Insurance Plc and during the tenure of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2004, bids from the general public were sought as it prepared to divest its stake in the oldest newspaper conglomerate. Consequently, Folio Communications Ltd, owned by Fidelis Anosike and his brother Noel Anosike tendered a bid for the said shares and was confirmed by the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), as the most preferred bidder for the shares.
The BPE sold to Folio at the cost of ₦1.25 billion, however, since the 2004 privatization exercise, Folio Communications had been trapped in court cases following a loan of N750 million from Hallmark Bank Plc, which was secured to enable it to pay for the newspaper company.
The nation’s largest local carrier also fell under the hammer of Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON announced the takeover of the management in February 2017 and appointed Capt. Roy Ukpebo Ilegbodu as the Managing Director. The airline is indebted to AMCON to the tune of ₦135 billion.
The airline has been in turmoil which was largely caused by bad corporate governance, erratic operational challenges, inability to pay staff salaries and heavy debt burden among other issues, all these which led to the call for authorities in the country to intervene before the airline goes under like many before it.
Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Siriki while explaining the rationale behind the take-over said
“We believe that this appointment is timely and will stabilize the operations of the airline. It will enhance the long-term economic value of Arik Air and revitalize the airline’s ailing operations as well as sustain safety standards, in view of Arik Air’s pivotal role in the Nigerian aviation sector.”