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Cocoa Processing Company Collapsing Over $100m Debt

A debt stock of about $100 million is crippling the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) located at Tema.

West Africa’s largest local processor, CPC, which has been listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) since 2003, owes syndicated banks, regulator and Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) at least $94 million for raw supply of beans.

CPC’s revenues in 2014 were $36.4 million, down from $60 million in 2013.

The company said it would sell some assets of the company in order to raise funds to get cheaper power from VRA.

Last year, the company closed its two main plants, which have a total annual grinding capacity of 64,500 tonnes and produce semi-finished products such as cocoa butter, liquor and powder for export mainly to Europe for maintenance.

Ghana, the world’s second-largest cocoa producer, currently processes about 30 percent of its total output locally far less than government’s target of 50 percent.

This was made known by management of the company when some top officials of COCOBOD paid an official visit to CPC as part of a familiarization tour of the company on Wednesday.

They also toured Niche Cocoa, Cargill Ghana, Cocoa Touton Processing Company and other companies in the Free Zones enclave of Tema.

Acting Managing Director of CPC, Dr. Frank Asante, attributed the huge debt to high electricity tariffs and unavailability of cocoa beans to process to make payment.

He appealed to management of COCOBOD to assist the company by supplying raw beans and funds.

According to him, the company was considering withdrawing from the Free Zones enclave to ensure competition in prices, adding that “we are hoping to get cheaper electricity from Volta River Authority (VRA) this year.”

Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, Board Chairman of COCOBOD, disclosed that his outfit would offer unflinching support to salvage CPC and make it viable.

He called on management of the company to be proactive to save the company from collapse.

The Board Chairman expressed worry about the failure of CPC to take advantage of the best cocoa beans produced in Ghana.

Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah, in a remark, assured the cocoa companies in the country of government’s support to boost production to meet its target of producing 50 percent of the beans processed locally.

He was optimistic the current measures put in place by management of COCOBOD and government would help cocoa producers to increase production.

The team also inspected the 192-room housing project for workers of COCOBOD at the Cocoa Village in Community 2, Tema.

CPC currently has 270 permanent staff, 130 casual workers, with about 100 of them outsourced.

Source: dailyguideafrica.com

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