Some shareholders of the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) have expressed worry over the inability of the company to declare dividends during the last 14 years.
The company has been recording losses since 2009, with a peak loss of $18.6 million in
However, the CPC's annual report showed that the losses reduced to US$15m in 2021 and declined to $12m in 2022.
The company has cumulatively recorded $163.2m losses from 2009 to 2022.
CPC mainly processes cocoa beans, which are used in the manufacturing of products, including chocolate bars and drinks, butter, liquor, and cocoa powder.
The company processed 13,957.45 metric tonnes of cocoa beans in 2020, but declined to
13,494.88mt in 2021, before a further decline to 13,096.87mt in 2022, data from the recent annual report of the company showed.
At the company's just-ended Annual General Meetings (AGM) in Accra on Thursday, shareholders expressed worry over the situation and charged the Board and Management to step up efforts to make the company profitable by 2024.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Mr Sampson Ashong, who holds 5000 shares in the CPC, urged the Board and Management to work to change the company's present situation.
When asked if he had received a dividend on his investment, Mr Ashong said, "I joined CPC the very time it floated shares, and nothing of that nature has happened, and we've been so worried."
"We're losing our investments, and as shareholders, our concern is that management turns the fortunes of the company around within the shortest time possible.
"They mentioned that the machines are old, so they need to be replaced. We pray that they work this up so that our values will go up,he said.
Mr Lawrence Ala, who bought shares in the early 2000s said "We have never had dividends since we bought shares in CPC."
"Those days when invested in CPC, I invested nine million cedis, and in those days, it was a huge money. At the time, vehicles like Daewoo Tico were sold at 1.5 million, so you can imagine how many of them I could buy.
"Why is it that those of us who contributed money for the company to grow are not getting anything," Mr Ala quizzed, adding, "Management should start giving us some dividends, starting from our next meeting."
Responding to shareholder concerns, Dr Frank Adu Asante, Acting Managing Director of CPC, said the bottlenecks to securing a US86.7m loan facility to restructure operations had been eliminated.
He said a loan agreement with the Africa Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is expected to be signed by December 2023, with the first tranche disbursed in January 2024.
"We're expecting some good news by November, and we should finish our bit then look up to our major shareholders and the banks to also work on our case."
Dr Asante also said that the company's new spread factory, together with three coarse and fine milling machines, and seven packaging machines, as well as a six metric tonnes/day conche were expected to be operational by the end of 2023.
Mr. Kwaku Owusu Baah described the company's loss reduction as a "positive development," saying, "I wish to assure you that we're on the path to recovery, though we're not there yet."
He said that the Board and Management were always concerned about CPC's poor performance.
"Accordingly, all our energies, as Directors, have been focused on strategies that would engender a turnaround of your company, and for that matter, increase shareholder wealth," Mr Baah said.
The Cocoa Processing Company was established in 1981. In 2002 the company presented nine of its products at the World Quality Selection, earning gold in eight of them and silver in one.