(Adds comments by Cocobod CEO, details)
ACCRA, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Ghana’s cocoa industry regulator Cocobod signed a $1.3 billion loan with international banks on Wednesday to fund purchases for the 2017/18 season, due to open early next month, Cocobod’s deputy chief executive said.
The world’s second largest cocoa producer after Ivory Coast, Ghana uses loans from international banks every year for bean purchases. In the upcoming season it aims to buy at least 850,000 tonnes from farmers, Cocobod’s Yaw Adu-Ampomah said.
The loan, signed in Paris with 25 banks, is smaller than the $1.8 billion secured last year, which ran out early. The deal provides for an additional $200 million to be added if needed.
The largest pre-export soft commodity financing facility in sub-Saharan Africa, the loan was oversubscribed by $300 million, Cocobod said.
Lead arrangers were Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Standard Bank, Natixis, Cooperative Rabobank, Ghana International Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.
Ghana is set to produce around 950,000 tonnes of cocoa this year, the most since a record 1 million tonnes in 2010/11. Cocobod will also seek a medium-term loan to fund infrastructure projects, said chief executive Joseph Boahen Aidoo. (Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; editing by Nellie Peyton/Mark Heinrich)