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24.03.2007 General News

PBC repositions itself for growth

By myjoyonline

The Produce Buying Company Limited has assured shareholders that concrete steps had been taken to improve operational efficiency in order to enhance the company's profitability.

The Board Chairman of PBC, Nana Timothy Aye Kusi, said everything was being done to cut down on the losses and return the company on to the path of making profits.

The company in the 2005/06 financial year recorded a net operating loss of ¢12.6 billion, representing a slight improvement over the previous year's loss of ¢31 billion. No dividend was declared.

Speaking at the sixth Annual General Meeting of the company in Accra, he said "Both the board and management are determined to boost the company's revenues and at the same time reduce operating cost to ensure sustained profitability."

As a first step, a new approach to cocoa purchasing operations had been adopted at the beginning of the 2006/07 main season with the aim to reduce shortages and also to make the districts and regions more manageable.

He explained that the new method was a strategy adopted to ensure that shortages and other related costs were kept to the barest minimum.

Efforts are also being made to diversify the revenue base through freight earnings by the company's articulated trucks and in this direction the company has acquired a medium term loan to commence its planned replacement of some of its old and dilapidated tractors, cargos and articulated trucks.

Nana Kusi said the company would continue to expand the frontiers of its field operations in major cocoa growing areas to stem the intense competition in the internal cocoa market in the ensuing years.
The programme has already started with the creation of two new regional offices and three operational districts in the Western region.

Nana Kusi said with an all-time record figure of 740,548 tonnes of cocoa production for the 2005/06 crop year, PBC recorded a slight increase of cocoa purchased by eight per cent from 225,358 tonnes of the previous year to 242,473 tonnes in year under review.

The company's market share for the year stood at 33 per cent.

On performance, the company recorded a turnover of ¢2.486 trillion, an increase over the previous figure of ¢2.304 trillion in 2004/05 due to increase in volume of cocoa delivered.

Cost of sales, he said, increased by 7.1 per cent from ¢2.077 trillion to ¢2.225 trillion, due to increase in volumes delivered.

Total expenses increased by 4.7 per cent from ¢277.350 billion to ¢290.350 billion.

Shareholders expressed their unhappiness about the failure of the company to pay them dividend for two continuous years and called for efficient management to ensure that shareholders duly received what was due them.