PBC makes modest profit but no dividend for shareholders

By Lydia
Asamoah, GNA

Accra, Aug. 24, GNA – The Produce Buying
Company (PBC) Limited recorded a modest net profit of GH
ȼ6.27 million for the
2014/2015 financial year as compared to a net loss of GH
ȼ25.31 million recorded
the previous year.

The Board of PBC, however, could not recommend
the payment of any dividend as was the case in the 2013/2014 financial year.

At the 15th Annual General Meeting
held on Wednesday in Accra, Mr Maxwell Kojo Atta-Krah, the Chief Executive
Officer of PBC, attributed the company’s performance to the unfavourable
weather conditions that significantly affected the national cocoa output and
reduced the quantity of cocoa purchased and delivered by the company in the
year under review.

He said the company’s continued reliance on
borrowings from the market to supplement funds for purchases presented it with
a cost outlay too heavy to bear.

Besides, the need for supplementary funds
beyond that from the traditional COCOBOD source continued to place the
operations of the company on excessive short term borrowings at high interest
charges.

“In the year under review, the company spent
51.2 per cent of its gross operational earning in servicing finance cost,” Mr
Atta-Krah said.

He said the general unfavourable economic
condition caused by excessive increases in costs of all major operational
inputs and logistics was another factor that militated against the smooth
operations of the company.

He, therefore, said the raising of the equity
capital for the company through a ‘Rights Issue’ or ‘Private Placement’ which
had been on the drawing board for a number of years should be pursued to its
logical conclusion as the Board of Directors continued to engage the major
shareholders on the issue.

Reviewing the general performance of PBC, Mr
Atta-Krah announced that the total revenue earned of GH
ȼ1.471 billion arose
out of the three core activities of the company, namely cocoa operations with
revenue of GH
ȼ1.413 billion, sheanut
activities, GH
ȼ35.660 million, and
haulage services, GH
ȼ7.986 million.

He said the revenue for cocoa operations
increased from GH
ȼ1.115 billion, an
increase of 26.6 per cent due mainly to the increase in producer price of cocoa
purchased from GH
ȼ5, 600.00 per tonnes
to GH
ȼ6, 800.00 per tonne in
the year under the review.

“With a decrease of 17.5 per cent in national
cocoa purchases from 896,917 tonnes in 2013/14 to 740,254 tonnes in 2014/15,
the company’s purchases similarly decreased by 21.5 per cent from 294,261
tonnes in 2013/14 to 230,989 tonnes in 2014/2015,” he said.

The Chief Executive Officer said total
expenses, excluding financing cost, increased by 34 per cent from GH
ȼ84.263 to GHȼ113.751 million, thus
the company recorded an operating profit before financing cost of GH
ȼ92.662 million as
compared to the previous year’s figure of GH
ȼ34.726 million, an increase of about 167 per
cent. 

On the outlook for the new financial year, Mr
Atta-Krah said the Board of Directors and management would continue to dialogue
with the major shareholders to ensure that all outstanding issues relating to
Equity Capitalisation were resolved.

He said they would also continue to put in
place the needed strategies to improve its operational capacities and
efficiency to increase its market share and volume purchases to enhance its
revenue and boost its profits levels in the years ahead.

“Again, the company would put in place
appropriate strategies to monitor and effectively and efficiently manage the
various investments being undertaken to ensure maximum return”, he said.

Captain Kwadjo Adunkwa Butah (Rtd), Board
Chairman of PBC, said the newly established Golden Bean Hotel in Kumasi
operated through the whole year as a 100 per cent owned subsidiary of the
company and it was expected that with positive patronage the end of year result
would be profitable.

He said the Shea factory, a potential rich foreign
exchange earner for PBC Ltd and a great potential revenue generating outlet,
was seriously being worked on to get it into full working order as quickly as
possible to add to the fortunes of the company.

Captain Butah said the PBC also provided modest
support and donations to various organisations and farmer communities in the
course of the year totaling GH
ȼ110,000.00,
adding that as the company’s earnings improves in subsequent years it would
become possible to improve such support to the farmers.

Meanwhile, a section of the minority
shareholders who presented a petition at the AGM, called for urgent
recapitalisation of the company to enable them to gain some dividends, saying
the current situation had led to dwindling in the revenues of shareholders.

Other shareholders also urged management of
PBC to increase farming support to farmers, especially cocoa farmers, to entice
them to produce their cocoa for the company.

GNA

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