NSTP file photo of unprocessed cocoa beans. [NSTP/FRANCIS ANDIN]]

KUALA LUMPUR: Guan Chong Bhd (GCB) plans to invest RM70 million in capital expenditure to expand its total annual cocoa grinding capacity.

It said the investment would be largely used to expand the plant of the recently acquired Koko Budi Sdn Bhd.

GCB acquired the entire equity stake of Koko Budi in June 2017 for RM17.0 million, and changed the name to GCB Cocoa Malaysia Sdn Bhd.

“The expansion plans will not only increase the capacity of the plant to 50,000 MT per year, but also enhance the group’s overall production efficiency with the latest technology,” it said in a statement.

The new state-of-the-art facility will process cocoa beans into cocoa liquor, cocoa butter,cocoa cakes and cocoa powder.

Managing director and chief executive officer Brandon Tay Hoe Lian said combined with its other cocoa grinding facilities in Pasir Gudang, Johor, and Batam, Indonesia, the total grinding capacity after the expansion would reach 250,000 MT a year from the current 200,000 MT.

“This will certainly catapult us to become the largest cocoa grinder in Asia and among the top five in the world,” he added.

For the first quarter ended March 31, 2018, GCB’s net profit surged to RM39.3 million from RM5.8 million in the previous corresponding quarter.