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Nigerian inflight operator sells its stake in Rwanda operation

Nigeria’s leading airline catering service provider, Newrest ASL Nigeria Plc, has divested its stake in its Rwandan subsidiary; ASL Rwanda Ltd.

Rwanda | THE INDEPENDENT | In a Sept.22 notice to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the board of directors of Newrest ASL informed its shareholders and other stakeholders that ASL Rwanda ceased to be its subsidiary following the sale of all shares it had in the Kigali-based company.

No details of the transactions were divulged at this point but in the notice, Newrest ASL, sought to reassure its shareholders that the move was in line with the “furtherance of the strategic objective of the company”.

“The board of directors will continue to seek opportunities for investment in the long term interest of its stakeholders,” it said.

Newrest ASL expanded to Rwanda in 2014. At the time, it was called the Airline Services & Logistics (ASL) Plc and targeted offering its services to the oil and gas catering and in-flight catering. It was granted a 15 year exclusive concession to build a new catering facility in Kigali as a joint venture between ASL Nigeria and RwandAir.

In October 2015, however, the government of Rwanda announced a major restructuring of the management of the aviation industry sector to make it leaner, more efficient, and competitive.

A major part of the restructuring involved forming a new company; the Aviation, Travel, and Logistics Ltd (ATL) to handle ground logistics, freight, cargo, and charter services, and more.

The new company was divided into five subsidiaries, including RwandaAir, the national carrier, the Hospitality and Travel Management Ltd, the Rwanda Airports Management Ltd, Akagera Aviation, and the National Logistics Company. The Nigerian company kept its in-flight and corporate catering business.

But under the new arrangement, Rwanda Airports Management Ltd handles the commercial activities at airports. This includes engineering and infrastructure development, concessions, and retail and air-hub operation businesses.

The ticketing services, hotels, restaurants, bar, and transit lounge operations, and events and conferences, tours, car rentals fell to the Hospitality and Travel Management Ltd subsidiary. RwandAir retained passenger, cargo, technical and ground airport handling while Akagera Aviation is in charge of training, tourism, and charter services.

The National Logistics Company deals with freight handling and forwarding, ground freight, warehousing and cargo facility management.

ASL Nigeria rebranded as Newrest ASL Nigeria in January 2017 in a name switch was at the time seen as a bid to align it more closely with its parent company, Newrest (Schweiz) AG, an investment management firm based in Genf, Switzerland. At the time, it employed 510 staff and catered to 600 flight handlings per month in two major airports in Lagos and Abuja.

It provided in-flight catering facilities and VIP Lounges at Kigali International Airport.

Its ASL Oil and Gas Logistics provided catering and logistics services to the oil and gas industry in Africa’s largest economy. As of 2015, Newrest ASL Nigeria recorded revenues of N4.55 billion and a loss-after-tax of N57.26 million.

Newrest ASL Nigeria Plc describes itself as the de facto leader in Sub Saharan Africa for airline catering and hospitality services, supplying over 1.5 million meals every year.

It was established in 1996 to provide catering and related services to airlines operating within the Nigerian aviation industry.

The company operates international standard inflight catering facilities, lounges and restaurants at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja. It has clients like Iberia, Qatar Airways, British Airways, RwandAir, EgyptAir, Emirates, Air France, Lufthansa, Kenya Airways, Delta Airlines and Continental Airlines.

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