Photo: Neil Pendock, via his Timeslive blog
Anthony Ward, co-founder of the Armajaro hedge fund, bought 240,100 tons of cocoa beans for 658 million pounds ($1 billion). With that, he could produce 5.3 billion quarter-pound chocolate bars, the Telegraph reports, about 7 per cent of the world’s annual global production.A chocoholic? Maybe. A former Chairman of the European Cocoa Association, who is also called “Chocolate Finger” by fellow traders, he is known for appreciating good food and wine. But more importantly, 50-year-old Ward owns such a large part of the cocoa market that he could press chocolate manufacturers to raise the prices on chocolate bars if he wanted to. For the last 10 years, according to the Telegraph, he has gathered about 15% of the world’s cocoa stocks. Ward is now worth 36 million pounds ($55 million).
Ward is planning to start a private equity fund that would invest in infrastructure in Africa as well as schools, farmland, and storage facilities. The trader who started out as a motorcycle dispatch rider is said to bet on rising food prices, as the world population increases. Ward said, “Food will go to a price where it encourages these developments,” according to The Telegraph.
Over the last two and a half years, cocoa prices have indeed increased 150%, according to the Financial Times. Last week, the price for cocoa was the highest since 1977, going up to 2,732 pounds ($4,177) per metric ton.