19th May, 2022
Ekiti Government, on Thursday, officially handed over one of its biggest commercial enterprises, Ire Clay Products Limited to a private investor in a bid to ensure its smooth running, result-oriented management and sustenance.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the the official hand over was performed by Gov. Kayode Fayemi at a brief ceremony held at the factory premises in Ire-Ekiti, Oye-Ekiti Local Government Area of the state.
Fayemi, represented by his Deputy, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, explained that the step was aimed at galvanising the company for more profitability and continuity of operations.
He said that the handover was a demonstration of his administration’s resolve to partner with the private sector to ensure that its business enterprises were run profitably.
The core investor, New Frontier Developments Limited, has acquired 60 per cent stake in the firm, under a mutually beneficial arrangement between it and the state government.
Fayemi also listed the gains of the handing over to include: enhancing the company’s capacity to meet the demands of its products.
According to him, it is also expected to serve as a source of internally-generated revenue (IGR) through taxation and provide more gainful employment for the people of the state.
He said that the state government had the factory in mind, while deciding on the reconstruction of Ilupeju-Ire-Igbemo-Ijan-Ekiti road, to allow its customers move the finished goods from the factory to where they were needed.
The governor recalled the efforts of its first administration in bringing back the factory to virility, with the partnership with O’dua Investment Company Limited, leading to commencement of commercial production in June 2014.
He, however, expressed the regret that the business enterprise suffered abandonment and neglect by the succeeding administration, noting that it was the return of his second administration that saved the company from being moribund.
“I want to salute the courage of the new investor who has found faith in us and resolved to drive this business with us, despite the current economic uncertainties in the country. We are ready to partner with in the smooth running of the factory so that you can succeed in the business.
“I urge the management of the company to foster a good relationship with the host community and also assist the state through engagement of our qualified youths.
“This symbiotic relationship will go a long way in endearing the people to the company.
“As this administration draws to a close, it is our desire that we conclude all the strategic partnership that are already ongoing on some of our prized assets so that more revenue can be generated from them for the overall benefit of our people,” he said.
The governor performed the symbolic handover of the factory to the Chairman of Frontier Developments Limited, Mr Hassan Usman, amidst applause by government functionaries, guests and members of Ire-Ekiti community present at the occasion.
Earlier in his remarks, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Fountain Holdings Limited, Mr Seyi Ayeleso, noted that the Fayemi-led administration had explored the option of divesting from the factory in order to infuse fresh financial and managerial capabilities into its operations.
Ayeleso said that this had made the government to appoint SIAO Partners as Transaction Advisors to the divestment transaction, which supervised the process of inviting, prequalifying and selecting a preferred investor, spanning nine months before the official handover.
He said: “I am glad to inform you that the selection of the investor and negotiation and fulfillment of the condition precedent to the conclusion of the divestment transaction followed the ethics of global best practices.”
Ayeleso said that New Frontier Developments Limited was found the most suitable in terms of financial standing, managerial capability and industry exposure, with its recommendations approved by the boards of Fountain Holdings Limited, O’dua Investment Limited and Ire Clay Products Limited.