GCB to boost cocoa grinding capacity

Tey with some of the company's products.

PETALING JAYA: Guan Chong Bhd (GCB), Asia’s largest cocoa processor, is targeting to boost its grinding capacity as well as explore new growth opportunities and undertake prudent expansion overseas.

According to managing director and CEO Brandon Tay Hoe Lian, the group is positioning itself to become a full-fledged global cocoa player in the foreseeable future.

He told StarBiz that “in terms of global potential, GCB still considers itself to be rather small despite its 250,000 tonnes cocoa grinding capacity and being the fourth largest grinder in the world.”

Therefore, the group’s long-term plans will include establishing presence in major cocoa beans producing countries.

“This will provide GCB with direct access to key cocoa bean sources and better quality control, as well as better access to other key chocolate consuming markets such as Europe,” Tay explained.

The group, which produces cocoa-derived food ingredients such as cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, cocoa cake and cocoa powder, has processing plants in Pasir Gudang, Johor, and Batam, Indonesia. GCB also has a cake grinding, butter deodorising and melting facility in the United States as well as trading subsidiaries in Singapore and Indonesia.

Tay pointed out that the group recently fully commissioned an additional 50,000-tonne grinding capacity at its newly acquired Koko Budi plant in Pasir Gudang.

“Together with our existing capacity in the other plants in Pasir Gudang and Batam, we now have 250,000 tonnes grinding capacity.

“Therefore, GCB’s current focus is to quickly fill up the entire capacity in the current financial year 2019, which also includes efforts to expand our sales into new markets,” he said.

Tay is positive on the demand for cocoa from leading chocolate companies and global consumer brands this year.

He said chocolate demand growth has outstripped supply, especially in Asia.

“While there is an expected small surplus in cocoa beans supply for 2018-2019, in the long term, chocolate demand is expected to grow at a faster rate than farmers can produce cocoa beans. Thus, a shortage of cocoa beans is expected.”

Furthermore, industry players expected the excess demand for cocoa beans to result in cocoa bean prices to rise in the long run, said Tay.

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