Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) Limited says it plans to leverage on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement come next year.
The trade pact is expected to come into force on January 1, 2020 with Ghana serving as the host of the secretariat.
According to a member of CPC’s management, the move has become necessary to reverse the ill-fortunes that have impacted on the operations of the cocoa processing company.
“We have started rebranding our confectionary products to make ready for the AfCFTA market. We are also targeting entry into the Chinese market. We have acquired a machine that can process 1 tonne per hour, and we plan on doing 22 tonnes a day. So, after a maximum of three years, we expect shareholders to get dividends,” he is quoted in an interview with the B&FT newspaper.
He further indicated the CPC was tirelessly working to change the narrative by implementing strategies towards increasing production capacity and injection of capital into the company.
“We inherited a GH¢180 million debt when we took over in 2017. We are passionately appealing for shareholders to exercise some patience with us. We now have the support of government, and gradually we are bringing the debt down. AfriExim is also supporting us with US$70 million to retool and replace some of the obsolete parts of our plant and increase our capacity,” he explained.
He continued, “It is going to increase our capacity from 64,500mt to 87,000mt. The confectionary capacity is also going to increase from 3,000mt to 15,000mt. So, we are asking our shareholders to have patience till we turn things around.”
Meanwhile, accumulated debt has led to the non-payment of dividends to shareholders of CPC since it listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange in 2003.
Shareholders of the company, during an annual general meeting in Accra this year, expressed dissatisfaction with the non-payment of their dividends.
According to the company’s recent annual report and financial statement, it recorded an additional loss of US$4.3 million in 2019. For the previous year, the CPC recorded a loss of US$7.2million.