The Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) has mandated Natixis,Société Générale Corporate & Investment Banking and Standard Chartered Bank as joint mandated lead arrangers and bookrunners of a US$780mn receivables-backed trade finance facility. The facility is fully underwritten by the joint mandated lead arrangers and will be used to purchase cocoa beans for the 2007-08 season.

The facility will be fully secured at all times by the assignment of firm and fixed price cocoa export contracts entered into between the Cocobod and acceptable OECD buyers.

The senior phase of primary syndication involving the Cocobod’s core relationship banks will be launched shortly by the Bookrunners and is due to be followed by a general syndication phase and road-shows in July.

Before the launch of primary syndication, Ghana International Bank has joined the transaction as an additional mandated lead arranger.

Cocobod is a statutory public board established in Ghana by Ordinance in 1947. Its functions are to purchase, market and export cocoa from Ghana, as well as to develop and encourage the production of this commodity in the country. During the 2007-08 season, Cocobod will be celebrating its 60th anniversary.

Last year’s transaction, arranged by Standard Chartered and Natixis, raised a 47% oversubscription in general syndication and settled with US$810mn.