KUALA LUMPUR: GUAN CHONG BHD expects the uncertainties in the global cocoa markets, which have affected the industry and prices, to be over in end-2013.
Managing director and CEO Brandon Tay Hoe Lian said on Wednesday the global cocoa grinding industry had a bad start in 2013 due to overcapacity in the European region.
"We however remain optimistic that the uncertainty in the global cocoa markets would be over in end-2013," he said in a statement issued after its AGM.
Tay said the prevailing economic uncertainty, particularly in the Eurozone, had affected the global cocoa grinding industry in terms of prices and demand for cocoa ingredients.
As for Asia, he saw "some sweet spots" and Guan Chong aims to tap into these fast-growing markets on the back of the rising demand for chocolates.
It also expects rising off-take of the group's capacity from its food & beverage multi-national corporation customers in Asia, due to rapidly rising consumption of cocoa-based products in the region.
Tay said Guan Chong planned to focus on marketing and sales of cocoa ingredients directly to F&B MNCs in this region, and to grow sales contribution from the current 6.2% in the financial year ended 31 December 2012.
Grinding of cocoa beans in Asia continued to surge to 897,000 metric tonnes in 2012/2013, versus 874,000 tonnes in 2011/2012, according to estimates by The International Cocoa Organization (ICCO).
The rising grinding of cocoa beans is evident in Indonesia, Malaysia, and other countries located in the Asean region, which indicates the enlarging demand by Asean consumers.
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