United Cacao Limited SEZC, the cocoa plantation company headquartered in the Cayman Islands and operating in Peru, is the subject of a winding up petition. The board of the company said it had concluded that the “legacy problems” it was facing were “too significant.”
On 13 July 2017, Carey Olsen, the company’s legal counsel in the Cayman Islands, filed documents stating that that the company is unable to pay its debts, is insolvent, and should be wound up.
In May 2016, indigenous organizations and NGOs from Peru, Europe, and the US called for United Cacao to be removed from trading on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange, citing breaches of AIM rules and what they claimed were illegal clear-cutting of Peruvian rainforest.
United Cacao was set up by former Credit Suisse investment banker Dennis Melka to grow cocoa on an industrial scale on newly-established plantations. It was subsequently delisted from AIM and Mr Melka was removed as chairman of the company, which was understood to be seeking new funding.
On 25 January 2017 the company issued a statement providing an update after an announcement of 6 January 2017 regarding the resignation of Mr Melka. The statement said the company’s directors were continuing to review the circumstances surrounding Mr Melka’s resignation. A statement said the board’s concerns included a US$2.0 million working capital facility.