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Old 14th Jan 2009, 13:04
  #3380 (permalink)  
Phone Wind
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Lost and Legless somewhere in LaLaLand
Age: 74
Posts: 481
As roque basse says, at the moment it's mostly CHC pilots leaving (or being laid-off from) Aero as they talk of reducing the helicopter fleet by at least 5 in the next 2-3 months. Soon it will be Aero pilots leaving too . It doesn't help that within the Aero hierarchy they have retained one of those who as a manager has no credibility with either nationals or expats and why he's still here is a mystery to everybody (except, presumably, those in the Aero management who decided to keep him on). There's all manner of talk going on around here, but all most of the pilots hear are rumours as there's no firm information. Yes, CHC is definitely keeping its stake - no CHC is definitely going to pull the plug - there's a meeting next week/month which will finally sort everything out - CHC and Aero directors only meet at neutral venues and then shout at each other - Aero currently owe CHC 50/80/100/125 million $$ - and so it goes on with nobody really seeming to know what's happening. There are a few expats who are still curious enough to find out how it will all end and want to stay on, but many are looking elsewhere . In the middle of all this, the MD of Aero is also finally leaving this month. Whether that's a good thing or not will partly depend on who replaces him, but he has to accept at least some of the responsibility for the state the company is in as he has presided over the whole changeover to CHC as partner and presumably had the support of the Ibru family. It will be interesting to see how Nabil fits into the new organisation under the new MD (or will Nabil be the new MD?).
Surely the new masters of CHC will be looking at writing off their negative investment Nigeria and pulling the plug soon as they are financiers, not aircraft operators. The Ibrus, who are now more closely involved in running Aero than they were during their happy relationship with Schreiner, are also financiers and Cecilia Ibru, the "First Lady of Nigerian Banking" and CEO of Oceanic Bank, the Nigerian owners of Aero didn't get her bank into the position where it is today without being extremely shrewd. I don't suppose she'll allow Aero to carry on as it is for much longer either, particularly as Nigeria finally also feels the effects of the global financial crisis.
In the middle of all this Evergreen are trying to get a foot in the door and rumour has it that they are sending out some people to talk to a couple of the oil companies (those with contracts with Aero) next week. They may find they've bitten off more than they can chew unless they send somebody with considerable experience of the Nigerian market (not just the African market) and a lot of commercial savvy and that doesn't seem to be the case. After all, they're going to be trying it on against 2 very experienced and savvy hands in Nabil and Mani who were part of the team who originally built Aero's dominant position in the happier days under Schreiner. If, as rumoured, they're looking at going in as a partner with Virgin Nigeria, that may also prove a poor choice, given the crisis that company also seems to be in at the moment, with Richard Branson contemplating reducing his shareholding. Maybe they'll try and do something with Caverton - a real Neverpay/Centre of Excellence joke
So far, Bristow is the company profiting from all this, but its management structure must be groaning under the weight of all the extra work. It's rumoured that Akin Oni is returning shortly which can only be a good thing. He's a fearsomely intelligent, articulate Nigerian, well versed in matters Nigerian and now had his skills honed by his time as a (very popular) manager on the North Sea. It needs someone who will be here longer than just a one or two year contract (who wants to meet his profit targets in as short a time as possible) and is willing to make long-term investments in the future to turn Bristow into a 21st Century company, instead of being the company which has all the promise for the future, with all the baggage of the past
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