PETALING JAYA: Cocoa grinder GUAN CHONG BHD is banking on its upcoming processing facility in Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) to serve as a launchpad to boost its export markets, especially in Europe.
The world’s fourth largest cocoa grinder said its new facility would see the group’s operations expand to a major cocoa beans producing country, and enable it to grow its market presence into Europe, given the close proximity and similar time zone.
In a statement, group MD and CEO Brandon Tay said it also aimed to increase market share in the supply of cocoa ingredients leveraging on the enhanced cost competitiveness from its entry into Ivory Coast.
For the first phase, Guan Chong is planning to construct a 60,000 tonne cocoa grinding facility, and has allocated between €50mil and €60mil for it.
The investment into the new plant, it said, was expected to be funded via the combination of internally generated funds, bank borrowings, and proceeds from the group’s recently completed private placement.
“Being situated in Cote D’Ivoire will be a major step up for Guan Chong, as it allows us to target new export opportunities in Europe, the world’s biggest chocolate consuming market.
“The similar time zones shared between the two regions and their proximity are an ideal investment case for us to pursue this expansion, ” said Tay.
He added that the group would also benefit from improved cost competitiveness through savings in shipping costs, storage and handling, as well as export taxes.
These factors, he said, would strengthen its competitiveness and capabilities, enabling the group to boost its sales globally.
The new factory is expected to be commissioned in the first quarter of 2021, bringing the group’s total grinding capacity to 310,000 tonnes from 250,000 tonnes currently.
Meanwhile, during the group’s EGM yesterday, shareholders approved the proposed 1-for-1 bonus share and 1-for-3 bonus warrants issue. The proposed bonus issue involves the issuance of up to 527.94 million new ordinary shares, subject to the level of treasury shares resold to the open market.
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