By Frank Kintum
There are strong indications that the legendary PAN Nigeria Limited (formerly known as Peugeot Automobile Nigeria), assembler of Peugeot vehicles in Nigeria, may have been sold to a company owned or associated with the brother-in-law of the Minister of Finance, Hajia Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed.
Reliable sources told Transport Day that the new owner/promoter of the over 30 years old assembly plant, which has up till the end of the year to drop the Peugeot franchise, is the brother-in-law of Nigeria’s current Minister of Finance. Said to be Humairi Ahmed, he is believed to be a successful businessman who made his mark long before the current administration.
PAN Nigeria has been in the news for the past two years after the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) put it up for sale, but did not sell to any of the bidders over two years after closing the bid. A joint company owned by Automobile Peugeot (AP) and Dangote, (Dangote Peugeot Automobile Nigeria-DPAN) was favoured to win, but AMCON refused to sell to the company.
This development forced AP to withdraw its franchise from the company, just as it has been reported that the JV is currently building another auto assembly plant in Kaduna state.
Managing Director of AMCON, Ahmed Kuru was reported to have said the delay was caused by a decision of Automobile Peugeot France, to seek partnership with another entity different from the one approved by the federal government.
Then AP representative in Nigeria, Eric Maydiey, had alleged in 2018 that the joint venture, known as Dangote Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (DPAN), decided to opt-out of the bidding because over a year after bidding for the company with 52 million Euros (over N21b), AMCON was yet to declare it as the winner of the bid.
Prior to the take-over by AMCON, the company which was originally owned by the federal government and AP, as well as other shareholders like Kaduna/Katsina state governments, saw the federal government selling its shares to a new investor- ASD Motors, during the Olusegun Obasanjo era of 1999-2017. However, AMCON had to step in due to the huge indebtedness of the company.
Already, PAN Nigeria has secured the franchise of other Chinese models for passenger (Chery) and commercial (Higer) vehicles to replace the Peugeot brand. It is expected that DPAN will now be the franchise owner for Peugeot vehicles.
Transport Day was also reliable informed that representatives of the new owners have already visited the Kakuri, Kaduna based company for pre-take over assessment billed to happen any time soon.
Calls made to the spokesman of AMCON, Mr. Jude Nwauzor, for confirmation were not answered nor replied as at the time of filing this report.