Ghana Cocoa Board seeks $300m syndicated loan

Ghana Cocoa Board has asked Parliament to approve a request for a $300 million syndicated loan to refinance short-term securities.

The government regulator for the cocoa industry has discussed the loan with banks including Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Standard Bank Group Ltd., Societe Generale SA, Credit Agricole SA, DZ Bank AG, Natixis SA and Nedbank Capital, according to documents presented to Parliament on Tuesday. Ghana is the world’s second-largest producer of the ingredient used to make chocolate. Ivory Coast is the biggest.

The loan would add to a $1.8 billion syndicated credit signed by the board in September, the month before the 2015-2016 season began. It used the money to buy beans from farmers. The government began selling cocoa bills more than 10 years ago to help close the gap in financing needed to fund purchases of cocoa.

Ghana harvested the smallest crop of the bean in five years during the last season because of dry weather and less-than- expected rain. The shortfall has helped support the price of cocoa in London, where it has risen 16 percent this year. Cocoa dropped 0.3 percent to 2,280 pounds per metric ton at 9:48 a.m. in London.

So far this year through September, Ghana sold about 2.1 billion cedis ($550 million) of 182-day cocoa bills.

 – Bloomberg