Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) Limited has cut the sod for the installation of a combined heat and power generation plant.
The biogas power plant project, which will utilise discarded cocoa pods, husks and other organic waste to generate power, will be undertaken under a six-year Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) arrangement and is expected to result in a 63 per cent cost reduction in energy in CPC’s operations.
The Managing Director of CPC, Nana Agyenim Boateng, said at the ceremony in Tema yesterday, that cost-benefit analysis indicated that the biomass project would reduce the cost of energy for both electricity and heat for boilers to about $210,000 or an average of $2.52 million a year.
He said the company was spending much on energy, and that it currently cost them between $500,000 and $570, 000 a month or an average $6.83 million a year.
“While we seek to facilitate greater local consumption of chocolate by producing a wide variety of products, we are also mindful of the need to ensure efficient production and adoption of cost-cutting measures required for us to remain profitable and to generate appreciable wealth for our shareholders,” the managing director added.
The Board Chairman of CPC, Mr Kweku Owusu-Baah, said after the company undertook a comprehensive comparative analysis of its cost structure, it found out that the CPC’s unit cost of production was about 60 per cent higher than the industry average.
He said the board also carried out financial analysis of the cost drivers and it revealed that the company spent about $6.8 million per annum on energy alone.
Mr Owusu-Baah explained that the project was a collaboration among four development partners, namely Captive Energy, GP Green Energy from India, Horus Energia of Poland and the State Bank of Poland, including three local partners; Standard Chartered Bank, Ghana; the ADB Bank and the Energy Commission.
He said the board would continue to pursue other strategic policies and interventions to get the company out of the woods.
Mr Owusu-Baah said last year the company brought down its annual losses to $5.5 million from $9.1 million recorded in the previous year, adding that “we cannot wait to send a fat dividend cheque to government as a shareholder”.
The company also launched 19 new variants of Golden Tree chocolate products.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, commended the company for the initiative and said the plant would not only help in creating jobs, but would also provide green solutions to the company’s energy requirement.
He said the CPC had made significant strides to overcome its challenges as demonstrated by its restoration onto the Ghana Stock Exchange after a period of de-listing.