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Ivory Coast withdraws licences of two defaulting cocoa exporters -sources

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12/07/2018 | 08:12am EST
FILE PHOTO: Men pour out cocoa beans to dry in Niable

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Ivory Coast has revoked the licences of two cocoa exporters which relinquished their contracts after they were denied bank financing, two sources at the country's cocoa marketing board CCC said on Friday.

Earlier this year, the world's biggest cocoa producer toughened up conditions for awarding export licences to avoid a repeat of defaults linked to a disastrous 2016/17 season, when world market prices fell 40 percent.

Cocoa exporters Green & Brown and Tropicao have returned their licences to the CCC as they were heading for default due to a lack of financing, one CCC source said.

A second source told Reuters their contracts would be sold off as fast as possible.

Company officials declined to comment. The volume of contracts they currently hold is unknown.

The CCC plans to resell another 150,000 tonnes of cocoa export contracts on the verge of default in January 2019, the sources told Reuters.

Several other small exporters told Reuters they have been struggling to obtain funding from Ivorian banks, which lost money after top exporter SAF-Cacao - one of several exporters with outstanding bank loans - was liquidated over debts owed to the CCC in July last year.

"Many small exporters are almost in default, so we are considering reselling their contracts," one CCC source said.

Ivory Coast sells forward most of its expected cocoa harvest to set a minimum price for farmers for the October-September season.

The country's regulator sold around 1.75 million tonnes of export contracts before the start of the 2018/19 season, allowing a guaranteed price of 750 CFA francs ($1.30) per kg of cocoa.

($1 = 575.4500 CFA francs)

(Editing by Sofia Christensen; editing by David Evans)

By Ange Aboa

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