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Old February 7th, 2012, 07:37 PM   #61
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Ghana and Euromoney to hold investment conference
February 3, 2012

Ghana and Euromoney are to hold ‘Ghana Finance and Investment Conference’ next week to create a platform for policy and strategy as well as highlight Ghana’s attractions as a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) destination.

Speakers for the two-day event scheduled for February 7-8 February, will be drawn from Ghanaian government, local practitioners and international investors to set the economic direction of the country over the next twelve months and in the medium term.

With Ghana rapidly becoming a regional centre for minerals, cash crops including cocoa, and with new-found oil – a discovery which certainly made the country attractive to global financial watchers and the need for infrastructure expansion, present the right conditions for foreign investment.

Commenting on the conference, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, said, “This is the opportune time for investors to come to Ghana. Our economy is doing well, it’s being touted as one of the fastest growing economies and it is strong and resilient. We have made a lot of efforts to diversify and modernize it; above all, we are a stable country where the rule of law, transparency and good governance are held sacred”.

“Currently our focus is on developing our oil and gas industry and to bridge the huge infrastructural gap – roads, rails, energy, ICT, health facilities etc. The World Bank estimates that we need about US2.5 billion annually for the next four to five years to bridge this gap. I hope that participants would find our economy attractive enough to invest in some of these areas”.

The conference will be officially opened by President John Evans Atta Mills and will feature a live interview on stage with Dr Kwabena Duffour and a keynote address from Mr Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, Governor, Bank of Ghana.

A keynote address from Mr Mark Mobius, Executive Chairman, Templeton Emerging Markets Group, Franklin Templeton Investments, the emerging market investment guru, on investing in Africa in the current climate.

“Euromoney’s Ghana Finance and Investment Conference is a clear demonstration that Ghana is taking the need to revitalise its finance and investment environment very seriously,” said Christopher Garnett, Director of Euromoney Conferences.

“Although, parts of the region exist in a state of some turmoil, this is not true of Ghana and I can think of no better time for us to be here.”

The conference will cover several key investment areas including banking, capital markets, oil and gas, SMEs, infrastructure and PPPs, mining, soft commodities and agribusiness, under the banner ” Ghana: Where Growth and Stability Meet.”

More than 250 participants will attend the conference. GNA
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Old February 7th, 2012, 07:38 PM   #62
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Africa is next destination for rapid development
January 27, 2012
Vice President John Mahama on Friday gave the assurance that the Government would work round the clock to make Ghana a world economic power in the coming years.

He said the country was already enjoying good governance, democracy and the rule of law which could in future spur the nation on an accelerated economic growth and development.

Vice President Mahama gave this assurance when Dr Chutikul, Senior Advisor in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), led a delegation to his office at the Castle, Osu.

The delegation was at the Castle to present the report of the last conference that was held in Ghana in 2008 and also to inform him of the next conference to be held in Qatar.

Vice President Mahama said Africa had before the world economic recession been marginalized in world trade and economics, but as the World was recovering from the danger, Africa would become the central point in trade and development.

He said although most of the countries were engrossed in political and other challenges, good leadership coupled with prudent economic measures would place the country on the right pedestal.

According to the Vice President, Ghana would hold on firmly to democracy and good governance to become a shinny example to other African countries in the coming years.

Dr Kobsak Chutikul said Ghana was regarded as a country of life and hope in the activities of the United Nations and therefore needed to accelerate its level of democracy and good governance to serve as an icon to the rest of the World.

He said notwithstanding the numerous economic challenges, they could still surmount those challenges with good leadership and prudent management. GNA
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Old February 7th, 2012, 07:40 PM   #63
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Tullow Oil launches “Invest in Africa” Initiative to woo investors to the Continent
January 24, 2012
Tullow Oil, Africa focused oil company, on Tuesday launched a new business initiative aimed at attracting and facilitating further investment on the continent.

Dubbed, ‘Invest in Africa’, the initiative aims to encourage long-term investment across the continent to help build and develop local capacity, boost domestic job markets, develop skills and stimulate economic growth.

The programme’s call to action will be supported through a partnership with English Premier League Football Club Sunderland AFC to raise awareness about business opportunities in Africa to facilitate inward investment and sustainable development through investor forums, organised business delegation visits and networking events.

Mr Aidan Heavey, Tullow Chief Executive, said despite the enormous economic progress made by countries on the continent, many investors were still scared about exploiting existing opportunities.

“Tullow is investing in Africa for the long term and we want more businesses to do the same. Africa has been good to us, and we have been successful, but we want that success to bring growth for local people and economies too,” he said.

Mr Heavey said the partnership with Sunderland would allow the message about the investment opportunities in Africa to reach global audience and called on other companies who share in the vision of selling Africa to the world to join the crusade.

“One of our key aims is to look at how international business can work in partnership with local businesses in order to develop local business capacity, “he said.

Mr Niall Quinn, Director of International Development Sunderland AFC, expressed the club’s excitement about the opportunity to use the global appeal of the Premier League as a tool for change through the innovative partnership with Invest in Africa.

“Africa’s passion for football is both heart-warming and inspirational and as a football club with community people and international aspirations firmly at its core, there is a natural synergy between us and this wonderful continent. We look forward to growing and developing the partnership in the coming months,” he said.

As part of the initiative, a year-round schedule of Invest in Africa partner events will be organised to provide a platform for international business audience the opportunity to interact and discuss new investment opportunities.

Mr Ike Duker, Executive Chairman of Tullow Ghana, said although the company was at the fore-front of the new business programme, all corporate institutions should come on board to make it a success.

Further details of the initiative including the additional partners which join the campaign will be announced at the end of the Premier League season. GNA
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Old February 18th, 2012, 04:08 PM   #64
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Emirates Upgrades Accra Aircraft

Emirates, one of the world's fastest-growing international airlines, underlined its commitment to Ghana this month by introducing the Airbus A340-500 on to the Accra-Dubai route, starting from 1 February 2012.

"Demand for our services to Accra has been steadily building and the introduction of the A340-500 will offer our customers an even better experience when travelling on this route," said Manoj Nair, Emirates Regional Manager for West Africa.

"Our customers will now enjoy the very latest Emirates in-flight product, including our multi award-winning ice entertainment system. Additionally, First Class passengers will experience Emirates' ergonomically-designed private First Class suites, featuring privacy screens for maximum exclusivity and massage-enabled seats which convert into flat beds. Our Business Class customers will experience angled lie-flat beds and those travelling in Economy Class will enjoy the comfort of generously-sized seats...This aircraft upgrade will offer travellers from West Africa markets seamless connections to the Far East, Middle East, Indian subcontinent and Australia, via Emirates Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport."

Emirates serves Accra daily, with an A340-500 aircraft offering 12 First Class Private Suites, 42 seats in Business Class and 204 Economy Class seats.

The aircraft also has a total of 13 tonnes of cargo-carrying capacity. EK 788 departs Accra at 1845hrs and lands in Dubai at 0630hrs. EK787 leaves Dubai at 0740hrs and arrives in Accra at 1240hrs.

Customers in all cabins can enjoy Emirates' professionally selected wines, spirits and beverages, as well as fresh, locally-sourced dining options prepared by gourmet chefs and served by the airline's multi-national cabin crew.

Passengers can also lose themselves in more than 600 channels of on-demand entertainment, including 50 new movie releases, more than 20 movie classics and 20 children's films.

The airline employs more than 130 Ghanaian nationals in a variety of roles across the Emirates Group, including 75 cabin crew.

Already this year, Emirates has launched new routes to Rio and Buenos Aires on 4th January, Dublin on 9th January, Lusaka and Harare on 1st February, Dallas on 2nd February and Seattle will follow from 1st March, Ho Chi Minh City from 4th June and Barcelona effective 3rd July.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 04:44 PM   #65
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Ghana, India yet to finalize gas price before start of $1b fertilizer plant

Ghana and India are said to be close to finalizing the price of gas for the proposed fertiliser factory to be set up in Ghana.

Finalising on the gas price is key before the execution of the factory by India’s state-run Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd (RCF).

India could settle for a gas price anywhere between $2 and $3 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) for the proposed unit, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal-HT Media’s business news outlet, the Mint February 16, 2012 citing two Indian government officials familiar with the development.

Both, however, said that no final decision on the gas price has been taken yet.

The fertilizer maker, based in Mumbai, plans to secure fuel for the $1 billion project from the Ghana Oil Company to produce about a million metric tons of the soil nutrients annually, according to a Bloomberg news report.

A bulk of the produce is expected to be shipped to India if the project is completed
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Old February 19th, 2012, 11:24 AM   #66
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US$200m to revive Obuasi mine

AngloGold Ashanti (AGA) is to spend approximately US$200 million as investment capital next year to revamp the Obuasi mine, which has more than 20 years mine-life with 9 million ounces of gold reserves, Mr. Peter Anderton, Senior Vice President, AGA (Ghana), has revealed.




“Obuasi’s production declined marginally due to obsolete underground equipment. Once the leading gold mine in the country, it is a high-cost producer and has never produced beyond 400,000 ounces since the merger between the former AngloGold of South Africa and Ashanti Goldfields Company of Ghana.
“At Obuasi, costs remain the key outstanding issue from 2011.”



This was made known during the company’s Stakeholder Town Hall meeting held in Accra. It was attended by its social and business partners, members of the diplomatic community, banks and financial institutions, chiefs and people in the host communities, and government representatives.



Mr. Anderton revealed that a high-level special taskforce -- ‘The Obuasi Taskforce’ -- has been formed for a 12-month period to fast-track additional corporate funding and external resources to support and define the long-term turnaround strategy for the Obuasi underground operation which has been struggling in the past years.



The objective is to accelerate the refurbishment and improve operational stability at Obuasi.
The taskforce is also looking to ensure that the work done today links to the long-term strategy for Obuasi, and that it yields sustainable outcomes for AGA’s Ghanaian stakeholders.



The work of the taskforce has now largely been handed over to AGA Ghana, which has been expanded to ensure product-delivery today but will also invest to create world-class operations at Obuasi, said Anderton.



AGA Obuasi will be supported with corporate funding as put in place by the taskforce, and additional expertise, where required, from AGA Corporate.



He said AngloGold Ashanti’s gold production was 4.52 million ounces last year, of which about 11% came from the Obuasi and Iduapriem mines -- though Obuasi was challenged by restricted ore passes and unplanned plant shutdowns for maintenance of the tailings-dam facility.



The Ghana mines produced just over 502,000 ounces, of which Obuasi churned out 317, 000 ounces with Iduapriem producing 185,000 ounces.



Ghana accounts for 33% of continental Africa gold production, but only contributes 13% of the region’s cash flow.



Kwesi Enyan, Managing Director of Obuasi Mines, explained that efforts have been made to tackle the company’s social and environmental problems head-on.



He indicated that the project to resettle the Dokyiwa community is at an advanced stage, and efforts are also being made to tackle poor roads at Sansu and Anyinam villages this year, in partnership with the municipal assembly.



“AGA is consistently demonstrating itself to be a responsible corporate citizen in Ghana and around the world. AGA will engage to an even greater extent to ensure that all its stakeholders are fully aware of the real positive contributions to the communities and the country,” Enyan said.



By Ekow Essabra-Mensah
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Old February 19th, 2012, 11:41 AM   #67
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UK Trade & Investment Dep’t estimates $2.2b needed to expand Ghana’s Tema, Takoradi ports

The UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), a department of the British government, has estimated that about $2.250 billion investment is needed to expand both the Tema and Takoradi ports in Ghana.

According to the UKTI, the Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority (GPHA), which manages both the Tema and Takoradi sea ports, is looking seriously to significantly develop its transport infrastructure which it sees as essential to sustained economic growth.

Giving a market overview of the ports sector in the country to potential British investors via its website February 6, 2012, the department said the GPHA is looking to increase the size of the Tema port to relieve the current congestion.

“Expansion plans are significant and include a new container terminal, fruit and sugar terminal, passenger terminal and transhipment terminal. Costs have been estimated at $1.5 billion and investment through Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) is being sought by the GPHA,” said the UKTI.

The Tema Port is the largest in the country and it handled about 75% of maritime trade in 2010. It also has 12 berths with draughts ranging from 8-11.5 metres, and handled 590,147 teus in 2010, a 12% rise in container volume from 2009.

For the Takoradi port, the GPHA is looking at a “$750 million expansion plan over three phases” to increase the size of the port by 300%, which includes land reclamation, according to the UKTI adding that the port in recent times has gained more significance due to the discovery of oil in 2007.

The port, which is now the main supplier for the offshore production and exploration operations and capacity, the department said “is under considerable strain.”

Investment through PPPs is being sought though the Ghana Government has listed the first phase of works amongst infrastructure projects to be financed under the $3 billion Master Facility Agreement with the China Development Bank.

The UKTI noted that Lonrho Plc is undertaking a feasibility study for an oil services terminal in Atuabo in the Western Region.

The British company plans investing $1 billion to build oil services ports in Ghana, according to a Bloomberg report February 8, 2012 citing Lonrho’s Development Director, Mr Steven Gray as saying in an interview.

By Ekow Quandzie
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Old February 21st, 2012, 09:29 PM   #68
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CAL profits up, but yet to meet BoG deadline

CAL Bank, a locally-owned bank, has recorded profit after tax of GH¢17.98 million in 2011, an increase of 90.00 percent from 2010 figure of GH¢9.47 million; but it is yet to meet the Bank of Ghana’s minimum capital requirement.




According to CAL’s financial report for 2011, the Bank’s stated capital is pegged at GH¢27.7million, 54 percent below the minimum capital requirement that local banks need to meet before the close of this year.



The CEO of CAL Bank, Frank Adu Jnr., said: “CAL posted a sterling performance in 2011, driven by broad-based growth in total revenues across all our business segments in general but in non-funded income in particular.



“Specifically, total income increased by 32 percent underpinned by 11 percent growth in core earnings (net interest income) and 58 percent increase in fees and commissions from increased trade finance.”



He explained that other income grew by a remarkable 107 percent from improved profits on active forex trading during the year, and from impressive contributions from corporate finance advisory fees resulting from a number of significant mandates executed in 2011.



“I am particularly proud of our 2011 performance in a year when adverse global economic conditions posed particular challenges to banks in the developing world as far as foreign trading lines and correspondent banking relationships were concerned.”


Looking forward, he said: “We are confidently on track to complete our GH¢75million private placement in Q2 2012. With our new capital, we are strategically focused on growing CAL into a strong top-tier Ghanaian bank serving the banking needs of the fast-expanding domestic corporate sector.”



He added: “On the retail side, our branch expansion over the next 3 years into identified locations will focus on serving a growing middle-market retail clientele with an emphasis on accessible and efficient service.”



On the bank’s financial strength, Chief Financial Operator Mr. Philip Owiredu said: "CAL’s profitability grew by a significant 90 percent margin in 2011 as we recorded an operating profit of GH¢24.4million.



“The 61 percent growth in our advances portfolio resulted from our targetted loan growth in the corporate sector. We recorded the greatest revenues from non-funded income (79.6% increase in 2011) linked to our increased trade finance operations, forex trading and corporate finance advisory fees.”



He indicated that the bank achieved a remarkable 110 percent increase in overall customer deposits through targetted deposit mobilisation focusing on key growth sectors -- notably telecoms, mining, bulk-oil distribution and real-estate.



“The modest 23.6 percent growth in total operating expenses was achieved through prudent control of administrative expenses and increased efficiency achieved through further process automation.
“Our capital adequacy ratio decreased to a comfortable 11.6% in 2011 from 16.1% in 2010. This reduced ratio is in keeping with our historical norms.



“In 2011, we also reduced our NPL ratio to 9.6% as compared to 11.4% in 2010, through a concerted recovery process that enabled us to recover some impaired corporate loans. I am confident that we will continue to preserve these key financial metrics going forward.”
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Old February 21st, 2012, 09:37 PM   #69
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Stability shields ...the uneven impact of new mining taxes

Questions of equity are beginning to emerge over tax-hikes in the mining industry as companies wielding so-called stability agreements appear to be protected and less aggrieved.

At least two miners, Anglogold Ashanti and Newmont, have signed such agreements with the government that freeze taxes, royalties and other conditions over 10-15 years, and have said they do not expect to be immediately affected by the new rules.

Anglogold Ashanti Limited, which signed a stability agreement with the state in 2004, has said it will not scale-back planned investments at the Obuasi mine, its biggest operation in Ghana, despite the tax-changes -- which include an increase in the corporate tax from 25 to 35 percent, a windfall-profit tax of 10 percent and changes to capital allowance rates.

The company says it expects to invest at least US$150million for a second year in the mine. Obuasi has had a difficult last few years with output shrinking and costs rising, but Anglogold believes it will remain fecund for at least the next 30 years.

“We’re committed to Ghana in the long-term so we’ll continue to invest, but we’ll continue to engage government,” said Kwame Addo-Kufuor, Anglogold’s Vice President (Ghana) in charge of corporate affairs.
When early indication of the government wanting to review the mining regime and contracts was given two years ago, Newmont’s CEO Richard O’Brien said the company had reminded the government of its stability pact, but was nonetheless “willing to “talk”.

Meanwhile, there are more than 20 large-scale companies that cannot seek solace in any stability agreement, and are subject to any changes or new rules that come into effect in the industry.

Gold Fields, which operates the Tarkwa and Damang gold mines, said in the wake of the tax-hikes that planned investments worth about US$1billion at the mines could be dealt a deathblow by the new development.

But shedding light on these initial comments, made by chief executive Nick Holland in Johannesburg, the company’s head of corporate affairs in Ghana, Mrs. Pamela Djamson-Tettey, said the miner is having to reassess its plans because, unlike others, it is “directly exposed” to the hikes.

“We need to look at [Gold Fields’ position] in the context of the mining regime in Ghana. Some of the mining companies have stability agreements that protect them, but Gold Fields does not have such an agreement with the government.

Therefore, Gold Fields is exposed whenever there is new legislation or new taxes are introduced,” she said.

More biting, in respect to Gold Field’s capital-injection plans, according to Mrs. Djamson-Tettey, would be the lower capital allowance rate of 20 percent for five years, from 80 and 50 percent at different periods in the past.

“That specifically impacts on project work, and it’s going to impact our plans so severely in terms of the feasibility and viability of future projects,” she stated.

While its initial action is going to be unevenly felt within the industry, the government has already put together a seven-member team to renegotiate stability agreements in the industry.

“[Your] first task is to review and re-negotiate any part of a stability agreement between the Republic of Ghana and any mining company that is not in the best interest of the country,” Finance Minister Kwabena Duffuor told the team at its inauguration in Accra last month.

The team, led by academic and jurist Prof. Akilagpa Sawyerr, will be assisted by a local resource team and advised by international mining experts in discharging its duties.

Anglogold has said it is yet to be contacted over the review of its stability agreement, and will not react now in order not to pre-empt any future event.

“These [stability] agreements are binding in international courts, and it’s not likely that the government will succeed in changing them,” said one industry source not willing to be mentioned.

According to Addo-Kufuor, Anglogold’s stability agreement was legally procured, and he said he believed there is mutual value in it for the state and his company.

But the government has often said it is not getting a fair share of miners’ profits and revenues, which have soared during the last decade as gold and other metal prices spiked to record levels.
“What we are looking for is a win-win situation in which mining companies and the people benefit equally,” Duffuor said.

Yet, Dr. Toni Aubynn, chief executive of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, has blamed the country’s inability to devise a “comprehensive vision” and framework for local participation in the industry’s value-chain for its failure to derive maximum benefits from mining.

“The best way to keep the mining industry as an integral part of the country’s economy is to put in place deliberate and sustained local-content and capability-development policies, backed by legislation and enforcement mechanisms -- and not just resorting to appeals or pleas to mining exploration and production companies,” he said.

In a new study published this month on the industry in West Africa, the World Bank said both governments and companies need to do more to expand the benefits of mining to communities. It reckoned the industry would have a bigger impact on economic growth if companies purchased more equipment, supplies and services from locals.

Countries have to enact policies that encourage local procurement, while helping locals to be able to utilise the opportunities, the bank said. For their part, companies will have to give fair access to locals to opportunities and provide information to communities on their procurement needs.

The bank said, also, that regional economic blocs could promote cross-border procurement by harmonising incentives and taxes linked to activities in the industry’s supply-chain.
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 09:13 PM   #70
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Olam Ghana to launch USD 55 Million Wheat Mill

Olam Ghana Limited, a subsidiary of Olam International Limited and one of the leading agro business companies in the country, is to set to launch a fully functional state-of-the-art Wheat Mill facility in Tema.

The ultramodern facility, valued at US$55 million, would be launched on Friday, 24th of February, at Kpone Industrial Area in Tema.

The mill has eight large Silos for the storage of the wheat, two warehouses, spacious loading grounds, a lab and the factory itself and is set to produce 115,000 metric tonnes of flour every year within three years, which would make it Ghana's third largest flour mill.

A statement from Olam quoted the Country Manager, Amit Agrawal as saying ‘we are very much committed to adding value to businesses and to making meaningful impact in the area of our business and so we are always on the lookout for opportunities to make significant difference in the industry.”

He said the company believed this wheat milling facility would contribute significantly to Ghana's food security plans, create employment and contribute no less than 20 million Ghana cedis per year to government revenue through taxes and duties.

The Global CEO of Olam International, Sunny Verghese was also quoted as saying “this facility marks another milestone in our lasting partnership with Ghana - wheat flour is a significant and highly demanded food component worldwide and in Ghana as well, whose demand and consumption we envisage to increase further over the next few years as incomes increase in the country’.

Dignitaries to grace the occasion include President John Evans Atta Mills, Ministers of State, officials from Olam International and from Olam Ghana, among others.

Olam International is a leading global integrated supply chain manager of agricultural products and food ingredients, sourcing 20 products with a direct presence in 64 countries and supplying them to over 12, 000 customers.

Olam has built a global leadership position in many of its businesses, including cocoa, coffee, cashew, sesame, rice, cotton and wood products. Olam Ghana now has a country-wide spread in 80 towns and villages with an annual turnover in excess of USD 335 million.
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Old February 26th, 2012, 12:58 PM   #71
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PBC targets 40% market share

Produce Buying Company (PBC) Limited, the largest buyer of cocoa beans in the country, has said it aims to increase its share of the market to 40 percent in two years.




The company, which bought 37 percent of cocoa beans in the last season -- down from 38 percent previously -- said it “will brace itself to recover whatever ground that was lost” in the last buying season.



Its Managing Director, Mr. Kojo Atta-Krah disclosed this at a Facts behind the Figures session at the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) in Accra.



He said the company faces competition from 25 other Licenced Buying Companies (LBC), but its excellence performance has granted it the biggest share of the market for a long time.



Cocoa purchases by PBC increased by 56.8 percent to 374,858 tonnes in the 2010/11 season, when total output and purchases of the crop jumped 60 percent to surpass 1 million tonnes.



The record output was due chiefly to good weather conditions and government interventions through the provision of farming inputs and other incentives.



Mr. Atta-Krah said turnover for PBC’s cocoa operations increased from GH¢622.664million to GH¢1.285billion -- an increase of 106 percent driven by an increase in the producer price, buyers’ take-over margin, and the volume of cocoa purchased and delivered.



“The company registered a significant growth in volume of cocoa purchases, total revenue and operating profit. This led to the attainment of a profit before tax of GH¢37.44million as against GH¢19.256million in the previous year,” he said.



This was the highest level of profitability recorded by the company since the board and management began the process of lifting it from the doldrums, he added.



The company is faced with some challenges, he disclosed, including frequent port congestion and other industry problems which restrict quick turnaround of its articulators and cargo trucks. This impeded its projection to haul about 40% of cocoa at the secondary level -- being able to achieve only 20%.



PBC has been engaging in other activities to diversity its operations and create a broader revenue base, Mr. Atta-Krah told investors and pressmen at the GSE.



The company has acquired vehicles to move cocoa stocks, and is in the process of setting up a hospitality centre. It has also started a project to establish a shea nut factory in Buipe in the Central Gonja district to process shea nuts into butter for export.
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Old March 1st, 2012, 12:26 AM   #72
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StanChart Ghana says 2011 net profit up 7.6 percent

ACCRA Feb 28 (Reuters) - Standard Chartered Bank Ghana said on Tuesday that its net profit for 2011 was up 7.6 percent to 77.676 million cedis ($45.95 million) from 72.208 million cedis a year ago.

* Net interest income slipped 1.2 percent to 150.403 million cedis compared to 152.748 million cedis in 2010.

* Total income fell to 63.649 million cedis from 86.233 million cedis, while basic earnings per share rose to 3.97 cedis from 3.64 cedis. (Reporting by Christian Akorlie; Writing by Bate Felix)
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Old March 1st, 2012, 12:32 AM   #73
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Diamond production turns a new face

Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC), a state owned organisation that deals in the manufacturing and sale of gold jewellery and in the export of gold and diamond has commissioned its diamond cutting and polishing plant.

The US$ 480,000 facility will enable the company to polish diamonds from its raw form that will bring out the beauty of the highest quality with equally good financial returns.

The Board Chairman of PMMC, Mr. Kwabena Kyereh when speaking to the press said, they undertake this project because diamonds have been mined and exported in its raw form since colonial times and the inception of the company.

He explained, “We see it as an opportunity to provide a linkage with other diamond producing countries in the sub-region with the view of making Ghana the focal point of the diamond industry in the region”
The installed cutting and polishing plant is expected to have a start-up capacity of 1,750 carats of rough diamonds.

In his speech on the technical aspect of the plant, Mr. Seth Klaye said “the output from our diamond mining sector has enabled counties like India, Israel and Belgium to create thousands of jobs and generated millions of dollars of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for their respective countries’ economies.”

He explained that countries that are involved in the cutting and polishing industry, 99% of them do for instance Israel, Belgium and Mauritius not have the raw materials but the industry generates billion of dollars in income yearly to support their various economies.

According to Mr. Klaye this is a seed being sown, and if the country position itself well as far as adding value to rough diamond is concern, Ghana can become the polishing hob of the West Africa sub-region in the process create thousands of quality jobs with a multiplier effect and generating millions of dollars to support the economy.


“The facility has the capacity to employ forty and this can be expanded to create thousands of jobs if our plan to position Ghana as the cutting and polishing hob of the sub-region becomes a reality,” he said.
The art of cutting and polishing of rough diamonds is a process that brings out the beauty and sparkle out of the otherwise dull piece of rock or stone that ordinary people will pass by without noticing.
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Old March 1st, 2012, 12:33 AM   #74
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Kosmos increases stake in Jubilee

Kosmos Energy says that it has exercised a right under the existing Joint Operating Agreement to acquire the participating interest of Sabre Oil & Gas Holdings Limited in the Deepwater Tano Block, offshore Ghana.



The purchase price is estimated to be approximately US$365million, with up to an additional US$45million contingent upon achieving certain performance milestones, said a company statement issued in Accra.

Following closing of the acquisition, Kosmos’ interest in the Deepwater Tano Block will increase from 18 percent to 22.05 percent. Kosmos’ interest in the Jubilee Field will increase from 24.1 percent to 25.8 percent.

Brian F. Maxted, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We feel very fortunate to have an opportunity to grow our interest in what we believe are some of the most valuable assets in West Africa at a compelling price.

“This transaction adds existing production at Jubilee, enhances our stake in the next oil development offshore Ghana, and increases our exposure to the significant Deepwater Tano exploration programme in 2012.

“We have great belief and confidence in the quality, value, and upside of our discoveries, and the further potential of the Tano basin petroleum system.”

Closing of the transaction should occur in the second quarter of 2012, subject to a definitive transaction agreement, customary closing conditions and necessary government approvals.

The Company anticipates funding the purchase price through a combination of cash on hand and borrowings. The effective date of the acquisition is January 1, 2012.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 03:57 AM   #75
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Diamond production turns a new face

Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC), a state owned organisation that deals in the manufacturing and sale of gold jewellery and in the export of gold and diamond has commissioned its diamond cutting and polishing plant.

The US$ 480,000 facility will enable the company to polish diamonds from its raw form that will bring out the beauty of the highest quality with equally good financial returns.

The Board Chairman of PMMC, Mr. Kwabena Kyereh when speaking to the press said, they undertake this project because diamonds have been mined and exported in its raw form since colonial times and the inception of the company

He explained, “We see it as an opportunity to provide a linkage with other diamond producing countries in the sub-region with the view of making Ghana the focal point of the diamond industry in the region”
The installed cutting and polishing plant is expected to have a start-up capacity of 1,750 carats of rough diamonds.

In his speech on the technical aspect of the plant, Mr. Seth Klaye said “the output from our diamond mining sector has enabled counties like India, Israel and Belgium to create thousands of jobs and generated millions of dollars of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for their respective countries’ economies.”

He explained that countries that are involved in the cutting and polishing industry, 99% of them do for instance Israel, Belgium and Mauritius not have the raw materials but the industry generates billion of dollars in income yearly to support their various economies.

According to Mr. Klaye this is a seed being sown, and if the country position itself well as far as adding value to rough diamond is concern, Ghana can become the polishing hob of the West Africa sub-region in the process create thousands of quality jobs with a multiplier effect and generating millions of dollars to support the economy.

“The facility has the capacity to employ forty and this can be expanded to create thousands of jobs if our plan to position Ghana as the cutting and polishing hob of the sub-region becomes a reality,” he said.
The art of cutting and polishing of rough diamonds is a process that brings out the beauty and sparkle out of the otherwise dull piece of rock or stone that ordinary people will pass by without noticing.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 04:01 AM   #76
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Produce Buying Company lambasts Cocoa Board

The Produce Buying Company (PBC) has accused the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) of deliberately disrupting its operations through undue delays at the Tema and Takoradi ports.

“When we move cocoa to the port, COCOBOD should arrange and offload it from our vehicles and pay us," Kojo Atta Krah, Managing Director of PBC recently disclosed in Accra.

"We should be paid within a maximum of a week after delivery of cocoa to the port but you won’t believe that in the past weeks, it has taken some of our vehicles over five weeks to be offloaded.”

“At a certain time, PBC had about a 1,000 trucks at the port. The money which we took as loans for our operation, was locked for weeks and we have been complaining all the time to COCOBOD to ensure that this problem is solved but it persists every year.”

According to Mr Atta Krah, the situation posed the biggest challenge to his outfit in addition to other issues.

He said every year government, through COCOBOD, sources for loans offshore for cocoa purchases but “due to challenges in the industry, we do not get the full complement of these resources.”

Despite the foregoing, the company was able to pay a total amount of GH¢7.565 million as corporate tax to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in 2011.

The company also paid GH¢2 million as dividend to government as a shareholder, bringing its total contributions to the national treasury in the year to almost GH¢10 million.

PBC recorded a gross profit of GH¢134.803 million in 2011 as against the previous year’s figure of GH¢76.229 million despite an increase in cocoa operations by 109.5 percent for the year under review from GH¢553.059 million to GH¢1.159 billion as a result of an increase in producer price.
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Old March 5th, 2012, 08:36 AM   #77
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Parliament approves off-taker agreement under China loan deal

The ruling NDC lawmakers of Ghana have voted massively to pass the controversial off-taker agreement between the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and the UNIPEC Asia Company Limited, paving way for the construction of a massive gas infrastructure expected to speed-up the Jubilee natural gas in the Western region.

The House also approved a loan deal worth US$150 million to finance the ICT-enhanced Surveillance and Monitoring Facilities for the Oil and Gas Enclave Project under the Master Facility Agreement (MFA) between the Government of Ghana and the China Development Bank Corporation (CDBC).

Today's approval came days after lawmakers approved a loan deal worth US$850 million to help Ghana to finance the construction of the proposed massive gas plant that will harvest natural gas from oilfields in the deep waters of the Western Region for domestic and industrial use.
The off-taker agreement, which is under the Master Facility Agreement between Ghana and the China Development Bank Corporation, was passed by a voice vote during today's sitting. Whereas ruling National Democratic Congress MPs shouted in support of the agreement, minority MPs abstained.

New Patriotic Party MPs had earlier called for withdrawal of the agreement for a more thorough scrutiny, arguing that the terms of the deal, which among other things require the GNPC to supply 13,000 barrels of jubilee oil per day until the loan amount is fully paid using the nation's crude, could seriously harm Ghana's economic interests in diverse ways.

The NPP MPs also accused the Mills government of seeking to enter into an agreement they argued breached key provisions in the Petroleum Revenue Management Law passed by Parliament last year.

They cited a provision in the agreement, which states that the tenure of the deal is 15 1/2 (fifteen-and-half) years, instead of the 10-year ceiling imposed by the Petroleum Revenue Management Act to back their stance.

But, majority MPs stood firmly behind the deal, insisting that the agreement holds the key to push Ghana into the much trumpeted industrial age promised by the Mills government.

It will be recalled that the government of Ghana entered into a Master Facility Agreement with the China Development Bank Corporation for an amount of $3,000,000,000.00 to finance various infrastructural projects in the country.

Parliament approved the agreement on August 26, 2011. The agreement was subsequently signed by the parties on December 16, 2011 and an Addendum to the Master Facility Agreement also approved on February 21, 2011.

"The MFA requires that the government of Ghana enters into separate subsidiary agreements with CDB in respect of each project to be implemented under the 3 billion dollar facility," a report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Finance and Mines and Energy said.

"Further, Parliament in giving approval for the MFA, directed the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to present each subsidiary agreement to the House for approval
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Old March 6th, 2012, 03:30 PM   #78
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Irrigating Accra Plains begins June

The canalisation of the Accra Plains is likely to take-off in earnest in June pending parliamentary approval, Dr. Ben Vas Nyamadi, Chief Executive of the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA), has disclosed.

He told B&FT in an interview that the contractor will move to site as soon as the three shortlisted contractors are presented to parliament for selective tendering, in line with the country’s procurement laws.

The intended canalisation of the Accra Plains, which has been identified as a potential bread-basket, follows the pre-feasibility study carried out by STUDI of Tunisia in 2008 for 150,000 hectares gross area, out of a projected 200,000 hectares originally.

Dr. Nyamadi said 50,000 hectares was deemed not suitable for canalisation because the soil samples were not conducive for cultivation, or because of human settlement within the catchment area. He however stated that the US$1.4million provided by the Kuwaiti Fund was used before the review study, which includes the 5,000 hectares for a detailed feasibility study and design of the Plains.

The entire duration of the canalisation process is expected to take four years, Dr. Nyamadi said. However, the Studi feasibility was for a mechanism known as the pump scheme of irrigation for the open canal system which was completed in 2010.

But the authority decided that the pump system would be more expensive, because the water has to be lifted and the machines used in lifting have to be periodically maintained. Consequently, the Authority contracted NTC International Consultants from Japan through the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which funded the project, to conduct pre-feasibility studies; and they identified 11,000 hectares of land that can be irrigated through the gravity pump scheme.


The canalisation of the Plains, Dr. Nyamadi explained, will be carried out in two phases. US$100million has been earmarked from the Chinese Development Bank loan of US$3billion, and the contract terms insist that 60 percent of the workforce must be Chinese while the remaining 40 percent will go to Ghanaian artisans.

Dr. Nyamadi said the plains will be used to cultivate rice and engage in agri-business. He said the plains will be given out on a private-public partnership basis, with the irrigated lands leased to interested private companies and individuals. He also mentioned the possibility of making some of the water available for communities within the Accra-Tema catchment area.
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Old March 6th, 2012, 03:32 PM   #79
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Ghana International Bank releases impressive results

Ghana International Bank, the only Ghanaian Bank based in the City of London, has released its 2011 performance results.

At its Annual General Meeting held in Accra yesterday, the Chairman Mr. Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, confirmed that the Bank achieved a forecast-beating full-year profit before tax of GBP12.3m in 2011, an increase of 14% over the 2010 figure of GBP10.8m.

This is the highest profit ever achieved in the history of the bank. Operating efficiency also recorded a marked improvement, with cost to income ratio reducing from 39% in 2010 to 37% in 2011.

Total assets increased by 13% to GBP736m from GBP601m. Mr Amissah-Arthur said the outlook for the bank remains encouraging, and commended the management and staff for their high level of professionalism which has culminated in the achievement of such an impressive result in one of the most competitive markets in the world.

Mr Amissah-Arthur added that Ghana International Bank’s return on equity of 15% is in the top-tier for Banks operating out of London and is a commendable achievement. He further said the result achieved in 2011 is a vindication of the shareholders’ decision to increase the bank’s capital by an additional injection of £50m via a rights issue.

Commenting on the result, the Managing Director and CEO Mr. J. R. Mensah explained that the record performance was due mainly to innovation, quality of service, development of new revenue streams and asset diversification strategy which has over the last six years seen the bank establish its footprint across Africa through syndicated risk-based lending and correspondent banking operations.

He added that the roll-out of the bank’s MasterCard Debit card product has also been a massive success and led to an exponential growth in its Retail banking and remittances business. As a follow-up, the bank will be rolling-out mobile banking products for the benefit of its customers this year.

He paid tribute to the valued and loyal customers who have made the achievement possible.
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Old March 8th, 2012, 12:06 AM   #80
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Nokia Launches Asha Phones. Opens Care Centre

World’s leading mobile phone manufacturer, Nokia has officially launched its Asha phones onto the Ghanaian market.
The company outdoored the Nokia Asha 201 and Nokia Asha 303 at a colourful event in Accra.Nokia Asha phones are affordable messaging devices produced with full QWERTY keypad for quick and easy text input.

The General Manager in charge of Sales for Nokia, Chris Brown, said consumers can now send text messages, emails and chat with their friends with the added speed advantage of the QWERTY keypad.He added that “they can also view their friends status updates and tweet right there on their home screen and download thousands of free applications from the proprietary Nokia store.”

On his part, Nokia’s Operator Account Manager, Kolawole Osinowo said, “Asha means hope and we see the next generation as one that is bound to be connected beyond calls and text messaging. Thus today, we are launching an ambition and not devices.’’This, according to him, led leading operator, MTN to partner with Nokia to provide free one-month internet access to Nokia faithful in Ghana who purchase the device.He further stated that Nokia Asha is consistent with the company’s tradition of churning out devices that suit consumer needs.

“We are making phones that give users a great experience and in Asha 201 and 303, we are giving young people devices that are trendy and packed with lots of exciting applications,” Mr. Osinowo.

He further explained that besides QWERTY Pad, Asha 201 and 303 also give users access to the Nokia store, where thousands of applications can be downloaded and the internet access is free for one month, thanks to MTN
Nokia Asha 201 comes with fully integrated social networks to make consumers stay connected to friends and networks via Nimbuzz, Facebook chats and more.It also has high performance loudspeakers to enable consumers share favourite music with friends and support for up to 32G with a microSD memory card.

The Nokia Asha 303 comes with all tools on the homescreen, which means consumers can view their friend’s updates and tweet right there. It also comes with touch screen capabilities to enable consumers navigate their phone as well as play games on the sleek touch screen.

Nokia Asha 303 has the Nokia browser that gives consumers faster and more cost effective web-browsing experience.The Nokia browser compresses consumer data by up to 90 per cent that allows consumers to spend less money and time surfing the internet via data.In a related development, the company opened a care centre at Asylum Down Roundabout in Accra.
This brings the number of Nokia Care Centres in Accra to three.

Commissioning the facility, the Deputy Greater Accra Regional Minister, Nii Djanmah Vanderpuye said “it is also refreshing to observe that the Care Centre would also help detect fake Nokia phones which are mainly imported elsewhere around the globe.”He commended Nokia for the initiative, which he said will go a long way to help curb the activities of traders of counterfeit Nokia phones on the market.

The Head of Care Nokia West Africa, Silvin Sinan said the objective of the Care Centre is to ensure that Nokia users are continuously connected.He noted that Nokia phones with warranty will be repaired free of charge and announced that his outfit will open care centres in Kumasi and Takoradi by the end of 2012.
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