Cocoa Processing Company Limited (CPC) is crumbling under 90 million dollar debt accrued over the last 8 years.
The CPC owes some syndicated banks led by Barclays Bank to the tune of $20 million. It is also indebted to COCOBOD to the tune of $50 Million for the supply of cocoa beans.
CPC’s performance on the Ghana stock Exchange has been anything but impressive over the years.
The company which manufactures Golden Tree brand of chocolates, has been struggling over the years in spite of several recapitalization interventions by government.
The factory also processes cocoa into Liquor, Butter, Cake and Powder which are exported to foreign markets under the brand name; Portem. COCOBOD owns more than half of the shares in CPC, with the Finance Ministry, SSNIT and the public being minor shareholders.
This was revealed by Board Chairman of COCOBOD, Hackman Owusu Agyemang during a factory tour by management and staff of some cocoa processing companies with the Ghana Free Zones by the Board of Directors of COCOBOD.
Hackman Owusu Agyeman assured management and staff of the CPC of efforts being made to revitalize its operations.
“Within the shortest possible time, we shall come with a well packaged message on how to rescue this organization. I do not think that we intend that it should die. But in as much as it is a private company, we’ll have to see how best we can do it; whether the shares are now offloaded all to COCOBOD or to some institution, or whether it’s still private equity, if it is then what arrangements can we make”, he said.
He disclosed that a meeting would soon be held among the major stakeholders in the sector in a bid to find a solution to the challenges facing CPC.
“I think that this calls for a very special meeting after we’ve studied all the options between your management, the COCOBOD Board of Directors, management of COCOBOD to see how best we can salvage the situation”, he promised.
Acting Managing Director of CPC, Dr. Frank Asante says the company went for loans from the above companies to increase their production capacity.
He noted that the huge debt is as a result of high utility tariffs and the fact that the company does not get sufficient supply of Cocoa Beans for production.
He therefore appealed to the government to immediately intervene so they can settle their debt to keep the company on its feet.