The Group Chief Executive Officer of Stallion Motors, Mr. Anant Badjatya has said that the group’s financial status “is healthy and solid,” refuting reports that the company is indebted to some Nigerian banks and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), just as the Nigerian banks claimed yesterday that its Group Chairman, Sunil Vaswani, was living a life of luxury in Dubai from loans which have become non-performing.
Mr. Badjatya made the clarification in the wake of trending reports that Stallion Motors’ operations were shut down on Thursday, this week, following an exparte court order arising from the company’s indebtedness to the Nigerian banks and AMCON.
Badjatya claimed the company has a sound financial position “with more than N750 billion in assets with approximately N150 billion liabilities, most of which are receivable from federal government, which translate into a very healthy debt to equity ratio.”
But the Nigerian banks told THISDAY that Stallion Group is in a very bad financial state and that Vaswani had been living profligately abroad and hosting extravagant weddings to the detriment of depositors’ funds giving to his companies, which he has not shown willingness to repay.
The banks said they are willing to work with Vaswani and his companies to restructure the loan if he cooperates with them, but will be forced to move for the liquidation of Stallion Group if they don’t see any seriousness at his end.
Badjatya in his statement admitted that some of the Group’s rented and leased properties were affected because of the court’s ex parte order, which he said was done without any notice: “No other properties have been affected anywhere else in the country. Furthermore, some locations which were sealed off in VI are now open and working.”
He added: “We are unable to comment further on this as the matter is sub judice. Stallion’s legal team has appropriately taken it up with the judiciary. The company has banking lines with local banks for regular business operations like all other major conglomerates in Nigeria. On the contrary, the organisation enjoys a very good customer loyalty across businesses and has a sound financial position. It is poised for further expansion with investments across business divisions; agriculture, aqua culture, auto, flexible packaging, logistics, business solutions etc.
According to the statement, “Stallion is completing its 50th year of establishment in Nigeria in 2019. It employs 4000 people directly and indirectly; it is one of the foremost conglomerates hugely invested in the country. It boasts of the largest installed rice milling capacity, working directly with more than 40,000 farmers across Nigeria.
“It has the largest and best equipped auto manufacturing and assembly plant in West Africa, feeding its state-of-the-art nationwide dealer network for nine global auto brands facilitating vehicle sales, leasing and aftersales, the largest Tilapia aquaculture farm, largest cold storage capacity, fertilizer blending plant, state of the art flexible packaging plant, plastics factory, clearing, transportation logistics and warehousing solutions, a cutting-edge audio visual automation solution provider.”
The statement also presented the philanthropic arm of Stallion – Stallion Empowerment Initiative, which focuses on education, healthcare, low (cost) housing and youth empowerment for the community.
The statement added: “Stallion supports operation of two primary schools and one technical high school with 3,600 students and a 75-bed hospital and low housing public estate respectively. The Foundation recently donated N120 million to the school and hospital for the upgrade of the facilities.
In the auto sector, Stallion showed the conviction in the potential of Nigeria when it took over the moribund facility formerly used by Volkswagen of Nigeria (VON) and its German partners on the Badagry-Seme Expressway in Ojo, Lagos. Stallion is the proud owner of VON.
“The company employs hundreds of employees in the sector and has invested more than N 130 billion in auto sector from manufacturing to sales to service and after sales. Stallion is dedicated towards the well-being of the country.”