- We Didn’t Shut It Down, Says LASAA
The LASACO Properties and Investment Limited, a subsidiary of LASACO Assurance Group in conjunction with Media View Limited, an outdoor advertising firm, are at risk of losing over N400million investment used in building one of the largest outdoor advertising electronic billboards in West Africa at Iyana Oworo in Lagos.
Investigations reveal that the multimillion Naira light-emitting diode (LED) billboard located on the vantage hilltop at Iyana Oworo area-popularly called ‘Oko Cole’ of Lagos overlooking Third Mainland Bridge, which belongs to Media View has not secured any long term business since it was commissioned on May 26, 2015..
According to sources, the investment was driven by LASACO Properties Limited’s passion to ensure businesses and that brands are better projected through modern outdoor medium to enhance quick connection with target audience, thus, leading to good market success.
The bad situation of the investors is not helped by the massive downward reviews of marketing and advertising budgets by multinationals. Recently, Glo announced a nationwide revocation of its outdoor advertising contract. Airtel, MTN, Guinness, Unilever Nigeria and financial institutions, in like manner, have all reviewed their advertising budgets downwards.
Apart from dwindling marketing budget as a result of the current economic situation in the country, the Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency’s (LASAA) insistence on payment for vacant boards has also compounded the investors’ circumstances.
It was gathered that Media View is owing the regulatory agency about N8milliom being debt accumulated over the period when the board remained vacant.
LASAA has already taken steps to shut down outdoor advertising companies that have refused to clear their debt, and findings indicate that the Iyana Oworo billboard is one of them.
Commenting on the issue, Temitope Akande, the Public Relations Manager of LASAA, said “there are some hoardings the agency has taken some minimal enforcement on. But this is not one of them,” he said..
LASAA is very strict with non-compliance with payment on vacant boards. This position has consistently kept both LASAA and Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria’s members at loggerhead.
Reacting to the situation, the General Secretary of OAAN, Femi Ogala, said “LASAA charges 30 per cent even on vacant boards. Clients are running away because of these charges. This is the problem”.
Speaking during the inauguration of the board last year, the Group Managing Director, LASACO Assurance Plc, Mr. Olusola Ladipo-Ajayi, explained that LASACO Group is always ready to partner with any organization on viable projects and businesses that can add value to the nation’s economy, describing the project as a landmark in the outdoor industry.
He stated that LASACO Group through its property arm, LASACO Properties Ltd, invested in the project because of its viability and its uniqueness in redefining the concept of advertising in the country.
Explaining further on the motivation to invest in the project, Mr. Ladipo-Ajayi said that the unique and strategic location of the site as well as the tract record of the site owner, particularly based on previous and similar dealing, which proved fruitful for both parties, boosted the confidence to be committed to the project.
Mr. Ladipo-Ajayi stated that “LASACO Group is proud to be part of this project, and we are sure that it will be well received by the advertising world including OAAN (Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria) because it is an achievement for them. This partnership will also give a boost to our line of business which is insurance”.
The Managing Director of Media View, Mr. Tunde Adedoyin, who commended LASACO Properties for its boldness in identifying with the dream of delivering the largest outdoor advertising electronic billboard in West Africa, is said to be battling to secure business that would kick off the renaissance of the investment. He, however, affirms that the board was shut down because of unbearable operational cost without a client on it. But expressed confidence that it is likely to resume by September when a prospective client is willing to break a campaign.
Speaking on the likelihood that LASACO, as the investing company, may resort to legal action, Adedoyin said any reaction in that direction is normal as no investor would want his investment go down the drain, adding that any other finance company or investor would react in like manner. He stated that the only factor that would stymie such reaction is timely return on investment without any hindrance, which is a condition LASACO shares with us. “We can confirm that we are enjoying absolute and highest level of understanding from the company. They are real worthy partners,” he said.
Even at that, our findings revealed that the board of LASACO is unsettled over the development and has called for a review of the investment