Ghana Cocobod’s 20th annual pre-export facility has been launched to general syndication. The deal is fully underwritten at US$1.5bn.

Only one group of 13 banks bid for the deal this year, which led to a delay in the transaction coming to market as it provoked much discussion around price discovery, says a source close to the deal.

The lack of financing options means that Cocobod is paying 175 basis points over Libor this year; nearly trebling last year’s 65bps.

Last year the facility was launched at US$1.75bn and closed at a record US$2bn.

GTR’s source says that the company is unlikely to look for an oversubscription this year as “there is not a huge amount of capacity to borrow much else”.

The reduced size of the facility is reportedly due to the dramatic drop in cocoa prices this year, which is now averaging at US$2,200 a tonne. Cocobod is also committed to its US$200mn medium-term facility which was signed at the end of last year.

As per previous years, the PXF is expected to close by mid-September, with drawdown scheduled for October.

Market sources say that Standard Bank and Barclays are involved.

The deal was launched on July 10.