Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) has mandated five international lenders for its annual pre-export financing (PXF) facility.

GTR has learnt from market sources that Rand Merchant Bank, Nedbank, Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU), Crédit Agricole and Société Générale are the mandated lead arrangers on the transaction.

Three groups of banks bid for the deal this year – unlike last year when only one group of 13 banks approached the cocoa giant.

Although the actual amount targeted remains unconfirmed, GTR’s sources say that it could be in the region of US$1.25bn – down from the US$1.5bn and US$2bn raised in 2012 and 2011 respectively.

Following its lack of financing options last year, it is understood that Cocobod will this year push for aggressive pricing.

In 2012 the company paid 175 basis points (bps) over Libor; nearly trebling the pricing of the previous year’s transaction. It is believed that this year’s margin may be in the region of 70bps.

The deal will likely be launched to general syndication in the coming weeks.