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20.08.2004 Business & Finance

CPC holds first AGM after divestiture

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Accra, Aug. 20, GNA - The Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) recorded a deficit of 4.375 billion cedis in the 2002/2003 financial year, Mrs Cecilia Abena Dapaah, Chairman of the Board of Directors, said on Friday.

In her annual report for the year ending 30 September 2003, Mrs Dapaah said the loss was due to the high cost of cocoa beans, which constituted about 80 per cent of the production cost.

Mrs Dapaah, who was addressing the Company's first Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Accra, said it processed a total of 20,434 tonnes of cocoa during the year with a turnover of 344.509 billion cedis. She said the declining prices of cocoa products mainly cocoa liquor and butter on the world market resulted in an unfair bean and product ratio, which forced a number of cocoa companies in Africa, Asia and Europe to close down, "this was the climate under which the Company operated in the 2003/2003 financial year, she said.

Mrs Dapaah said despite the loss, the Company paid a total of 14.200 billion cedis in taxes to the State from its operations. To improve on operations, she said the Company had secured a loan of 22 million Euros to fund the Company's expansion programme to increase cocoa beans processing capacity from 25,000 tonnes to 65, 000 tonnes per annum.

The Chairman said the expansion would increase sales turnover from 35 million dollars to 100 million dollars per annum.

Mrs Dapaah said in order to create sustainable wealth for the shareholders; the Board and Management had adopted a number of strategies to handle the effects of price fluctuations in the world cocoa market by reducing the Company's operational cost to the barest minimum.

She said the company was pursing a vigorous export drive for its confectionery products to the Asian market, with the development of two different recipes of chocolate bars: Volta Bitter Sweat and Ashanti Bitter, which are being marketed by Ten Forward International, a company based in Japan.

The Chairman said the Company hoped to expand its market for its confectionery products in economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

With export revenue of 30.5 million dollars in 2002, the Company won the best exporter of that year 2002 award of the Ghana Export Promoting Council (GEPC).

Mr Paul Awua, Managing Director of CPC, said for the first time in 11 years, the Company recorded a loss, which gave a bad signal to the Company's image because of it's listing on the GSE. He said in view of this loss, the Board was unable to propose any divided for the year.

He noted that this was due to higher prices of Ghana's cocoa bean and the industrial unrest in April and July 2003 over demand for new salaries.

The Managing Director said sales turnover achieved in 2002/2003 was 344.950 billion cedis, which was higher than that of the previous year's 249.7 million cedis.

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