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14.02.2008 Business & Finance

Gov’t Offloads Shares In PBC

By Daily Guide
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GOVERNMENT SAYS it will revisit the issue of offloading some of its shares in Produce Buying Company Limited (PBC) to a strategic investor.

Currently, government is the largest shareholder in PBC, having 70 percent of the shares though it has already floated some on the Ghana Stock Exchange which enabled the company to list on the capital market.

Dr. Anthony Osei Akoto, Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning told CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE that government is considering reducing its stake in PBC further.

He said cabinet would soon decide on the number of government's remaining shares in PBC that would be offloaded to the strategic investor.

“A transaction advisor will then be chosen to assess the interested bidding companies' financial status regarding how much they will invest in the company as well as other plans amongst others,” he added.

Officials of the Ghana Stock Exchange last week urged government to reduce its holdings in PBC so as to boost investor activities in shares of PBC on the capital market and subsequently increase in the share price.

Kofi Yamoah, Managing Director of the exchange said the decision was necessary since it will enable PBC raise additional funds to support some vital projects that will help the company achieve larger returns.

Government also at the beginning of the year re-affirmed its commitment to offloading more of its holding in state-owned enterprises on the capital market.

The divestiture programme which has been on the drawing board for sometime now is to increase private participation in the state-owned firms.

Dr. Anthony Osei-Akoto said the intended rationalization of government's participation in the Agriculture Development Bank (ADB), SIC Life Insurance and others are still in the pipeline.

The privatization of Ghana Telecom is still pending as government is scrutinizing the bidding documents of the interested companies.
Government had earlier rejected the nod given to France Telecom by the two transaction advisors, Ecobank Development Corporation and Societe Generale after the due diligence process.

Despite a 21.5 percent reduction in its turnover for the last financial year, from GH¢248.662 million to GH¢195.113 million, PBC saw some 8 percent increase in its turnover for the first quarter of the current financial year.

Alternatively, its profit before tax also increased by 8.5 percent from GH¢1.853 million to 2.193 million.

In line with the role and regulations of the market, PBC pledged to continue providing high quality service and motivation to its cherished farmers and adopt healthy competitive prices.

By Charles Nixon Yeboah

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