Oversubscribed Ghana Cocoa Board facility transaction completed

Stanbic Bank Ghana, a member of the Standard Bank Group, has confirmed that the Ghana Cocoa Board’s 17th annual pre-export finance facility (COCOBOD) has secured a record number of commitments.

Standard Bank was one of the joint mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) for the $1.2 billion transaction along with Crédit Agricole, ICBC, Ghana International Bank and SMBC.

The transaction was oversubscribed at $1.834 billion and the borrower increased the facility size to $1.5 billion.

A total of 28 banks, including the MLAs, confirmed participation, with ticket sizes following scale-backs ranging from $5 million to $100 million.

“Cocoa is a strategic economic commodity for Ghana both as a significant contributor to GDP and as a consistent source of foreign exchange earnings.

It is therefore necessary for us as a bank to promote and enhance the industry and we are happy to do this,” Alhassan Andani, Managing Director of the bank, said.

Established in 1947, Ghana Cocoa Board is the chief proponent of the production, processing and marketing of cocoa, coffee and sheanut.

Ghana is the second largest cocoa beans exporter in the world after Ivory Coast, providing approximately 18 per cent of the world cocoa supply.

COCOBOD continues to promote the increase in the crop production with larger planted acreage, improved pest control and purchase price incentives for domestic producers.

Farmers are currently paid a minimum of 70 per cent of the Free On Board price in local currency as well as biannual bonus payments.

Ghana cocoa is of superior quality and commands a quality premium reflecting excellent growing conditions, fermentation and collection care that COCOBOD designs into the supply chain.

Mr Kwamina Asomaning, Head of Corporate and Investment Banking at Stanbic- Ghana, said: “Standard Bank continues to be regarded internationally as one of Africa’s leaders in Agriculture.”

Ghana earns approximately 40 per cent of its foreign exchange revenues from cocoa. The sector plays a leading role in Ghana’s economy, employing more than two million farmers and buying agents.

Mr Asomaning said the need for the partnership cannot be overemphasized.

The structure of the deal remains unchanged, with the facility used to purchase cocoa beans for the 2010/11 season, and secured by the assignment of export contracts from overseas buyers.

Ms Anne-Marie Woolley, Head of Structured Trade and Commodity Finance, Africa, at Stanbic Bank Africa, commented: “The Ghana Cocoa Board transaction remains one of the largest structured soft commodity finance facilities in the African market, and it is pleasing to see such strong and continued demand for this premier transaction from international investors, which is a reflection of its long standing structure and excellent performance track record.”

The deal will be finalised at a signing in Accra on Wednesday, 22 September.
Source: GNA

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