Despite a bad year for Ghana’s cocoa sector, the regulator of the industry, the Cocobod has this month closed a deal for $1.8 billion for pre-export financing for the 2015-2016 cocoa crop, according to information reaching ghanabusinessnews

The deal to raise money through the Cocobod’s pre-export finance structure in its 23rd year was closed June 19, 2015.

Cocobod will use proceeds from the facility in meeting its financing needs for the 2015/2016 cocoa crop.

The final signing of the deal as is always done, would be in Paris, France in September, 2015

The senior phase of the syndication of the facility, which is fully underwritten by the arranging group, was heavily oversubscribed, trade industry sources announced.

Barclays Bank; Commerzbank , London branch; Deutsche Bank ; Natixis ; Standard Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), are the initial coordinating initial mandated lead arrangers (co-IMLAs), bookrunners and underwriters, industry sources say. These IMLAs worked together with the cooperation of Standard Chartered Bank as co-arranger and the Ghana International Bank as an IMLA.

Within the senior syndication phase, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (MUFG ), DZ Bank , HSBC France, KfW IPEX-Bank , Nedbank , Qatar National Bank , Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), ABN AMRO Bank, Société Générale CIB (SG CIB), Crédit Agricole CIB and Intesa SanPaolo, Dubai branch joined the facility as senior mandated lead arrangers ahead of the launch of general syndication.

The regulator secured $1.5 billion financing through the facility in 2012 for the same purpose and that deal was described as the largest non-oil trade financing in sub-Saharan Africa at that time, by Standard Bank.

Meanwhile, this is a bad year for the cocoa sector in Ghana. According to a Reuters news agency report citing Ghana government sources, the 2014-2015 cocoa season output will be not more than 700,000 tons, down from an initial target of more than one million tons that had already been revised down to 850,000 tons.

The country’s largest cocoa buyer, the Produce Buying Company (PBC), posted a net loss of GH¢25.4 million in the 2013-2014 financial year as compared to the previous year of GH¢8.8 million.

Other challenges facing the cocoa sector include aging farmers, bad seasonal weather, pests and smuggling.

Credit: GhanaBusinessNews (Emmanuel K. Dogbevi)