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09.05.2007 Business & Finance

BOPP To Source For Own Energy Needs

Benso Oil Palm Plantation (BOPP) Limited, a crude palm oil processing company, plans to purchase and install a bigger steam turbine and boiler to enable the company to generate its own energy requirements in view of the current energy crisis facing the country.

The board chairman of the company, Mr Ishmael Yamson, who made this known at the annual general meeting in Takoradi, said that the national energy crisis continued to raise the company's operating costs.

He stated that the purchase of the steam turbine would make the company self-reliant in energy production.

Giving the financial performance of the company during the 2006 production year, Mr Yamson stated that the company registered a profit of ¢3.8 billion last year, as against a loss of ¢2.7 billion in 2005.

He explained that “this was partly due to the cost-saving measures adopted by management of the company in the year as well as improvements in the world market price for crude palm oil”.

He said further that the company also achieved three per cent sales volume growth last year.

The board chairman said the world market price of crude oil went up from an average of $421 in 2005 to $459 in 2006, representing nine per cent increase in dollar terms over that of 2005.

He outlined that the company had performed strongly in terms of volume delivery, efficient crude oil extraction, focused cost control and improvements in agronomic practices, while it had boosted labour productivity.

Mr Yamson said the year under review closed with total palm fruits production of 87,066 metric tonnes, representing 0.9 per cent growth over 2005.

“Crude palm oil production was 16,485 metric tonnes, a growth of three per cent over 2005”, he added.

The board chairman said the new kernel oil mill, which started production in the middle of 2005, produced 3,281 metric tonnes of palm kernel oil last year, as against 992 metric tonnes in 2005.

“But for the power rationing experienced throughout the country in the last quarter, the volume growth would have been better”, he contended.

The company, he said, purchased 27,622 metric tonnes of fresh fruit bunches at the cost of ¢14.8 billion from small rural farmers numbering over 5,000 in the Western and Central regions last year.

“BOPP is thus a major player in the economies of these two regions and should necessarily receive commensurate attention from the two regional administrations, Mr Yamson said.

According to Mr Yamson, a decline in rainfall had had an adverse impact on crop yield, adding that the company had started addressing this problem by digging up trenches in the field to harvest rainwater to ensure that the moisture levels in the soil were maintained.

Additionally, he said all empty fruit bunches were currently being sent back to the field to decompose and enrich the soil.

“Our employees have demonstrated the rare qualities of dedication and commitment which have begun to deliver strong returns to all stakeholders”, he said, adding that “we will need to continue to rely on their steadfast dedication to the company if we have to sustain delivery of strong results”.

The board chairman pledged that the company would commit itself to improving skills and welfare to ensure that it sustained performance at high levels.

He stressed that safety, a healthy environment and quality issues continued to be given priority attention to avoid fatal industrial accidents.

Story by Kwame Asiedu Marfo