04.05.2005 Business & Finance

PBC in record dividend payment to Government

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Accra, May 4, GNA - Produce Buying Company (PBC), the nation's only listed cocoa purchasing company on the Stock Exchange, on Wednesday paid the highest ever dividend of 8.04 billion cedis to the Government saying it was an indication that Ghanaian managements were capable of success. Government holds 66 per cent shares in the Company.

The payments, which represent a 67 per cent increase over the previous year's figure of 7.18 billion cedis, saw net profit rising by 42 per cent from 27 billion cedis to 38 billion cedis. The Company secured a dividend payout ratio of 31 per cent, slightly above the 30 per cent policy mark.

Briefing Journalists when the Company presented the dividend to the Government in Accra, it said it aimed at having the highest market share in the near future while working at sustaining its performance.

Mr Emmanuel Owusu Boakye, Managing Director, said it had not been easy competing with the other 27 private cocoa buying companies, but the company was keen on maximizing shareholders' investment.

Nana Aye Kusi, Chairman of the Board of Directors, in making the presentation was upbeat on the operations of the Company saying PBC had improved significantly since the Board was inaugurated.

"We have transformed the Company tremendously moving it from a loss making Company to one which posted a surplus of 27 billion cedis within two years."

PBC before 2002 operated a 13 billion cedis deficit. Nana Kusi said the turnaround propelled the Company from its 43rd position on the Ghana Club 100 rankings in 2002 to the number two position; last year.

Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, in charge of revenue, congratulated PBC for its performance, but said the Company could do better in its dividend payments to its shareholders.

He said the operations of the Company in the last two years had vindicated the Government's decision to have a Ghanaian management instead of the original ideas of a strategic investor.

PBC, whose share price has shot up from 390 cedis to 3,690 cedis over the last three years saw turnover increasing from 1,595 trillion cedis in 2003 to 2,296 trillion cedis last year. Its cocoa purchases increased by 46 per cent, from 167,998 tonnes in 2003 to 244,597 tonnes of cocoa in 2004.

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