The Ghana's Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) Limited has more than doubled its cocoa beans throughput capacity to 64,500 tonnes per annum, from the successful completion of a five-year rehabilitation and expansion programme, its director said on Thursday.
Mr. Richard Amarh Tetteh, Managing Director of the company announced this on Tuesday during the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the company.
He said the expansion, which was in two phases, began in 2003 with a loan
of 22 million Euros and an additional 22 million dollars plus a local component of GH¢1.67 million.
Mr. Tetteh said the final phase of the expansion was completed in the third quarter of CPC's 2007/2008 financial year, after a year's delay and that the company had since been ready to run at full steam.
"In spite of the tough global economic crises experienced in 2007/08, the company managed to operate profitably and was able to complete the final phase of its expansion programme in the third quarter of the 2007/2008 financial year." he said in an interview with the GNA.
The first phase which entailed the construction of a new plant to process 30,000 tonnes of cocoa into liquor was commissioned in 2005. The second project involved the upgrading of the old cocoa factory to process 34,500 tonnes of cocoa beans, up from its 1965 installed capacity of 25,000 tonnes.
"CPC now operates, in addition to a confectionery factory, two modern state-of-the-art cocoa processing factories with a combined capacity of 64,500 tonnes of raw cocoa beans per annum," Mr. Tetteh said, adding that, it was one of the most modern processing facilities in Ghana currently.
The cocoa factory grinds beans into semi-finished products such as cocoa liquor, butter, natural/alkalized cake, or powder while the confectionery manufactures the flagship 'Golden Tree chocolate bars', couverture, pebbles, and drinking chocolate powder and chocolate spread.
Mr. Tetteh said the company's profit went up last year although its production target was hampered by 25 percent, mainly as a result of the global fuel crises and partly due to unreliable power supply and interruptions.
He said the company declared a net profit of GH¢1.27 million, compared to GH¢647,193 in the previous year. Operational costs rose by 22 percent mainly due to the rise in crude oil prices which peaked at $147 per barrel in July 2008, he added.
` "The year 2008/09 promises to be good for the company as it positions itself to process 64,500 tonnes of cocoa and generate a projected revenue of 208 million dollars," he said.
As a result of the increased capacity, management has launched a strategy to diversify its target markets in Asia, Middle East, Eastern Europe and other African countries, Mr. Tetteh said, adding that more attention would be focused on the production and marketing of confectionery products in 2009.
Currently, CPC exports about 95 percent of its semi-finished products to Europe and the Americas with the rest shared among Asia and Africa.
CPC only deals with buyers on a spot-sale contract basis. This, management said, was aimed at reducing the company's exposure to the volatility of the international cocoa trade.
CPC, formerly wholly-owned by the state, was partially privatised after the government off-loaded 25 percent of its stake and got listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange in February 2003.