Govt bails SSNIT out of ailing STC

The government and the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) have reached a compromise on how the latter should dispose off its stake in the ailing Intercity STC Coaches Limited (STC).

The initiative is aimed at reviving the fortunes of the once vibrant transport company, which has, over the past 10 years, lived in its glorious past due to lack of investment.

The Director of Road Transport at the Ministry of Transport, Mr Robert Kumi, told the Graphic Business on October 9 that the two shareholders recently agreed that government, the 20 per cent shareholder, should look for a strategic partner to buy SSNIT out of the transport service provider company.

The search for that strategic partner is set to start soon, Mr Kumi said, adding that it would very likely conclude before the end of the year.

“We will be advertising for the partner in about a week or two and from there, we will start sampling the offers that will come,” he said.

He could, however, not say if SSNIT intends exiting STC completely or will keep part of its current 80 per cent stake in the company.

“The government will keep its 20 per cent because remember STC is a strategic national asset. For SSNIT, I can’t tell but they will very likely sell all,” the director of road transport at the ministry said.

The Head of Corporate Communications of SSNIT, Mrs Eva Amegashie, could also not say if the trust will dispose off all its interest.

SSNIT acquired the 80 per cent stake in STC in 2003 after Vanef Consortium, which had bought that stake could arise funds to pay for them.

The Trust and the government have since reneged in investing in the company and that has led to a depreciation of STC's fortunes and customers over the period.

Attempts by SSNIT, the nation's fund manager, to sell its stake have also not yielded any results despite frequent protest from STC's staff.

The Managing Director of the company, Mr Thomspon Essel, said in a separate interview that the search for a partner was refreshing and hoped it would help improve the fortunes of the company.

"Whoever takes over STC is really not issue. It is about what the person is bring on board and with that I mean expertise and finance," he added.

J A Plant Pool, which distributes Yutong buses in the country, has long expressed interest in buying STC should the opportunity arise.