London Stock Exchange welcomes United Cacao Limited to AIM

London Stock Exchange welcomes United Cacao Limited to AIM

London Stock Exchange is pleased to welcome United Cacao Limited SEZC (“United Cacao” or the “Company”), to AIM. United Cacao was admitted to trading on AIM on 2 December 2014 (symbol CHOC).

United Cacao is a cacao plantation company based in Peru and is seeking to become the world’s largest and lowest cost corporate grower of cacao by the end of 2016 when it plans to complete the planting of its existing freehold 3,250 hectare estate, of which the proceeds of the IPO fundraise will finance the planting of an initial total of 2,000 hectares. The Company’s plantation is located near the city of Iquitos in northern Peru at the headwaters of the Amazon River.

United Cacao is on-track to achieve a total planted estate of 500 hectares by the end of 2014, which the Directors believe would make it one of the two largest cacao estates in Peru. By end of Q1 2015, the Group expects to have planted 1,000 hectares in total and by the end of Q4 2015, a total of 2,000 hectares. Subject to the availability of future funding, the Group then expects to have planted the remaining plantable area of 1,250 hectares by the end of 2016.

United Cacao has raised $10 million before expenses, through the issue of 5,000,000 new Ordinary Shares at a price of 128 pence per share. On Admission, United Cacao will have 18,430,000 Ordinary Shares in issue. Based on the placing price, the market capitalisation of United Cacao on admission will be approximately £23.6 million.

United Cacao is being advised by Strand Hanson, which is acting as Financial and Nominated Adviser to the Company, and VSA Capital Limited and Kallpa Securities which are acting as Joint Brokers. Tavistock is acting as financial public relations adviser.

Dennis Melka, Executive Chairman and CEO of United Cacao, commented:

“As the first publicly listed pure-play cacao company, United Cacao offers investors exposure to a global market that has well known and recently publicised supply constraints together with the challenge of rising demand. This has been reflected in the positive response from investors in the UK, Europe and Latin America which allows us to continue our sustainable and ethical planting strategy on our freehold estates in Peru - a country that benefits from an excellent climate and soil conditions for cacao.  Admission to AIM is the logical next step towards our goal of becoming the largest and lowest cost corporate grower of sustainable and traceable cacao beans by the end of 2016.”

“Cacao is an essential, non-substitutable ingredient for the global chocolate confectionary market. Whilst manufacturers can adjust the amount of cocoa powder or cocoa butter in an individual product, there is no substitute for the cacao bean itself. The Group believes that whilst the demand-side factors in respect of cocoa are encouraging in the current economic climate, particularly in Asia, it is the supply-side pressures on the production capacity of existing West African producers that creates a very promising commercial environment for Group.”

“The European and North American confectionary buyers of cacao are also increasingly concerned about the reliable and sustainable supply of cacao beans, and ethical labour standards of its workers. United Cacao’s strategy is aligned with these emerging market trends.”