By Oduche Azih
THUR, MARCH 11 2021-theG&BJournal-Some media houses tracking the company have reported that “Okoloko, had in 2005, assembled a team of investors to acquire the assets of the former NAFCON and as a core investor, partnered a consortium that included Emerging Capital Partners, a major private equity firm out of Washington, D.C., USA., and OCI Fertiliser BV, owned by the Orascom Group, on the deal.
He later led the completion of the largest single loan syndication of banks when Notore raised $222 million from seven local financial institutions.”
Mr Jite Okoloko, an alumnus of the initial Oando Group has done wonderfully well with the team that he assembled at Notore to take over and resuscitate the assets of NAFCON rotting inexplicably under Federal Government control. There was enough shame and odium to go round. Who cared, until then.
Whatever their initial investment was, I presume that adding the syndicated loan of $222 million took their net assets at completion to something less than $1b. Whatever difference that we have today has been Value Added or perhaps better put as Wealth Creation. From all indications, Nigeria is not all that bleak. However all the few scattered bright spots are being overwhelmed by a sea of confusion and planlessness. It is amazing that the success at Notore is not being routinely thrown in the face of tepid potential investors.
As it is, the Notore Group has had to keep blowing its own trumpet. That shouldn’t have been the case. I honestly believe that the prime incentive to Dangote Group to add the Ammonia Fertilizer unit to its Refinery Complex under construction must have been gleaned from the financial reports indicating the runaway success at Notore.
Another question remains. Why doesn’t the Federal Government borrow the template it used in privatising NAFCON on a good many other FG enterprises begging for rescue? Why does the FG still insist on taking up equity in businesses left and right when it does not have the cash to pay up? Everybody knows that meeting up its obligations at the cash cow operation of the Major Oil Companies has remained Mission Impossible.
After these 20 odd years, the federal government SHOULD HAVE sold something else or two to Jike Okoloko and his band of capable hands. I believe that he, Ohis Ohiwerei and others have groomed a crop on technocrats and managers to put a serious dent on our mountain of problems in the area of Technological and Industrial Development. Meanwhile the government of today and perhaps those preceding it looked at these matters as favours to friends of government. This mindset doesn’t make any sense.
Note that this particular investment could have easily been welcomed in Ghana, Benin Republic, Kenya or Ethiopia. We must continually strive to be included.
Mr Azih writes from Lagos