Fellow shareholders, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I am extremely honoured to welcome you to this Annual General Meeting. It is also my privilege to present the financial statement for the year ended December 31, 2010 to you for the first time as the Chairman of the Board.
Although the year 2010 was yet another bad year, we could see the light at the end of the tunnel; we were able to cut down on our losses as compared to the previous year and saw the reactivation of Valco, our major raw material supplier. The Rights Issue, although not very successful as we had envisaged, brought in some working capital which enabled us to cut down on our expenses, especially, interest on bank loans and exchange losses.
The Economic Environment
The Ghana Government continued its Better Ghana agenda in 2010. A GDP growth of 5.9% was achieved and inflation rate ended in single digit at 9.3%.
On the basis of Ghana having been re-classified a middle income economy and recognising the contribution of the oil and gas sector to the economy, Government has forecast growth in 2011 to be 12.3% (oil inclusive). In the 2011 budget Government intends to set the country’s economy on the path to accelerated growth with the theme of “stimulating growth for development and job creation”.
We remain upbeat about 2011 outlook and the opportunities available for us provided our main issues of supply, maintenance and sales are properly addressed. The underlying factors into the future are fortunately pointing in the right direction. Raw material supplies have improved and sales are following. This is allowing the company to improve its maintenance schedules. We forecast this year as an indicator of a strong recovery, something we as the Board, as Management, and I am sure, you, as shareholders, have been waiting for, for a long time.
Review of 2010
Performance on the Ghana Stock Exchange
Board of Directors
In succession to Mr Inkumsah the Board has asked me to be the new Chairman; a position I have accepted. I agree with the Board that the company continues to need the experience that I shared with Mr Inkumsah to steer the company through these difficult times. I pledge to work very hard with my colleague Board members and with the management of the company to attain the objectives that we have set for the company.
I regret again to have to inform you that we have had two other resignations from the Board. Mr Benjamin Gogo resigned from the Board on 31st March 2011 for personal reasons which has to do with the weight of his responsibility schedules. We would like to thank Mr Ben Gogo for his incisive contributions to matters that were brought to the Board for discussion and for his invaluable service to the company, serving the Board for over 15 years. We shall miss his wise counsel.
During 2010 Mr. Napoleon Kpoh was replaced by Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), (one of our major shareholders) who he had been representing on the Board. Mr Napoleon Kpoh served on the Board for some 9 years and brought his immense labour experience to bear on the business of the Board whenever it was required. His invaluable service is appreciated by his colleagues and I am sure members of the company join me in thanking him ever so sincerely for the part he has played in keeping the company going in the face of the difficulties that it has had.
Miriam commenced her professional career with Ayew Agyemang Turkson and Company (AAT&Co), a Firm of Chartered Accountants where she gained extensive experience in Banking, Manufacturing, and service industries. During her five years stay with the firm, she undertook audit assignments in institutions like the VRA, SG-SSB (then SSB), Ghana Consolidated Diamond Limited and World Bank/Donor funded projects among others.
After serving satisfactorily as head of Finance Department in various Divisions of COCOBOD, she was transferred from the CSSVD Control Division of Ghana Cocoa Board to the Head Office in February 2008. She was subsequently appointed to the position of the Director of Finance in April 2010 due to her outstanding performance.
She was admitted as a member of the Institute of Chartered accountants (Ghana) in 1991 and has a record of being a founding member of the Association of Women Accountants of Ghana.
She has served and continues to serve on a number of committees and Boards. She currently serves on the Board of West Africa Mills Company Ltd (WAMCO) - a cocoa processing company in Takoradi.
We welcome as well Mr. Victor Djangmah who is the new representative of SSNIT on the Board. He also comes well qualified. Mr Victor Djangmah is an engineer by Profession and currently is the Managing Director of Fanel Limited, a firm of Electrical Engineers and Contractors. He holds a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). He worked with the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) after KNUST from 1973 to 1980 before entering into the Construction Industry. Mr. V. Djangmah is the representative of Social Security and National Insurance Trust on the Board of Aluworks Limited.
New persons will be chosen by the Board to replace Messrs. William Inkumsah and Ben Gogo in due course and they shall be presented to shareholders at the appropriate time. Meanwhile, distinguished shareholders, please join me in welcoming the new Directors to your Board.
In accordance with the regulations of the company and the Companies Code 1963 Act 179, Togbe Afede XIV, and Mr Anthony Fofie will be retiring by rotation and being eligible offer themselves for re-election.
Non-Executive Directors Fees
Corporate Social Responsibility
Projections for the future
Thank you and May God Bless us All.