Ivory Coast: Failure of negotiations for the revival of Saf Cacao

Ali Lakiss, long-time leader in Ivorian cocoa, prevents bankers from sleeping.

Saf Cacao, one of the largest Ivorian exporters of cocoa, in liquidation following contracts in default, will finally have no escape route. The Cocoa Coffee Council (CCC) emphasizes that it finally has no choice but to demand “the judicial recovery of 75.6 billion CFA francs, or (133 million dollars)” to the company that could not find an agreement with its creditors, a banking pool, to try to revive its activities, reports Bloomberg who quotes official documents.

These banks, which hold a debt of 150 billion FCFA on Saf Cacao, or 228.7 million euros, had nevertheless pleaded for the company to continue its activities hoping to have chances to recover their funds.

“However, during several meetings with the local banking association and the company,” the SAF Cacao group did not propose any debt repayment plan and the banks made no concrete proposal to end the crisis ” Bloomberg quoted the CCC as saying.

It was on July 18 that an Ivorian court decided to liquidate the company following a request from the CCC. This is a consequence of the wave of defaulting contracts (covering more than 200,000 tonnes guaranteed by the CCC) which shook the sector because of the unexpected fall in cocoa prices of around 40% at the last quarter of 2016.

The question remains to know the attitude of the group of creditors which includes the main local banks (Ecobank, SGBCI, BICICI, NSIA Bank, SIB and Banque Atlantique). Especially since according to sources, this situation is causing “a systemic risk” to the Ivorian banking market, while the next cocoa campaign, which begins in October, is just around the corner.


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