February 6, 2018 / 2:50 PM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-Ghana's CPC in talks with creditors to restructure its $20.5 mln debt -MD

(Adds quotes, details)

ACCRA, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Ghana’s distressed Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) is in talks with creditors to restructure its $20.5 million debt due to be paid after 5 years, its managing director said on Tuesday.

The 64,500-tonne plant aims to double its raw beans input to 60 percent of its capacity. It is seeking finance to buy beans and has embarked on a cost-cutting plan under a 10-year turnaround, Agyenim Boateng told reporters.

CPC, known for its ‘Golden Tree’ brand, is operating at around 30 percent of its capacity because it lacks the funds to buy beans to grind.

The company relies on cheaper light crop beans from state-owned industry regulator Cocobod, which is its major shareholder, to produce chocolate and other products for export and local consumption.

Boateng, who took up the role in September, said the company was gradually recovering after three years’ of losses.

He said management was negotiating with banks for financing guarantees to enable CPC to procure beans and buy additional confectionery machinery to produce more chocolate.

“We are looking to expand into new markets in China and Lebanon,” he added.

CPC said last year it required at least $300 million to repay debt and buy beans. (Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo, editing by Louise Heavens)

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