LIVING HERITAGE

OUR HISTORY - LIFE BEFORE FANMILK

Few years after Ghana had attained independence, a Danish young entrepreneur by name Erik Emborg during the late 1950’s, was shuttling between Denmark and Brazil in the interest of his brewery business. Erik veered into the Gold Coast during one of his trips to look for traders to do business with. He partnered some investors to establish the Ghana Cold Store in December 1959. In 1960, the Ghana Milk Company Limited was inaugurated by Eric Emborg with eight shareholder to produce and distribute milk based products. Through the importation of skimmed milk powder from Europe, the production of recombined milk packed in cartons started. Distribution to schools, shops, department stores, homes and hospitals was mostly done by vendors who rode container-carrying bicycles popularly described as ‘Long John Bicycles’.

Unfortunately, the market analysis had been wrong. People were just not buying the fresh milk products because using fresh milk was not the habit of Ghanaians, most of whom preferred to buy caramel-tasting tinned milk imported primarily from Holland. Due to this miscalculation, Ghana Milk Company Limited lost its entire equity and found itself bankrupt in 1962.

1962 – A NEW LEASE OF LIFE

One morning, a concerned Ghanaian employee of the company came up with a brilliant idea. He said to Erik Emborg, “If only we could produce more chocolate milk and ice cream, and supply our vendors with plenty of ice blocks to chill our products, I can assure you that things would turn around for the better”.

Erik then offered to buy shares off the other shareholders, and take care of the bank loan. As part of the company’s new direction, a unique corporate logo was introduced. It was created by a Dane, Viggo Arentoft, who was inspired by the symbolism attached to the oriental fan, a cooling tool.

Subsequently, at an extraordinary General Meeting on 26th March, 1962, a special resolution was passed to change the name of the company to Fan Milk Limited.

In a space of eighteen months, the company experienced prosperity. The bank loan was repaid without difficulty; employees were paid handsomely; and a fleet of bicycles was acquired. On 2nd September, 1969, the shareholders passed a resolution to convert the company to a public limited liability company and increase authorized shares from 30,000 to 470,000.

Fan Milk Limited continued doing good business until it began facing difficulties in the 1980s, as a result of a global oil crisis which culminated in rising fuel costs. Fortunately, as time went on, things got better with prudent management decisions. Today, Fan Milk Limited has a veritable success story to boast of.

 In 2016, Danone (Global Dairy Manufacturer) partnered with Abraaj (a Private equity firm) to acquire majority stake in FanMilk. In 2019, Danone secured Abraaj’s stake in FanMilk becoming the sole majority shareholder of FanMilk.