Fan Milk Limited - Ghana  
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Our History

Fan Milk Limited was founded by Danish entrepreneur Erik Emborg. As a young man, Erik trained in the shipping company J. Lauritzen in Esbjerg, Denmark. Shortly afterwards, he went to Scotland and England to further his education. Before the start of the Second World War, Erik was stationed in Poland. As time went on, he was employed by Viggo Ostergaard, a Danish company that exported pig feet to overseas markets, including the Gold Coast. This was around the time when Ghana became the first country in Sub-saharan Africa to attain political independence from colonial rule. 

During the late 1950s, Erik was shuttling between Denmark and Brazil in the interest of his brewery business. During those trips, he frequently made stopovers in Senegal. During one stopover, Erik veered into the Gold Coast from Dakar to look for traders who were buying pig feet, so that he might sell directly to them. Having found them, he realised that he needed to set up a cold storage facility, but the cost implications were quite substantial.

Erik Emborg was fortunate enough to find a number of co-investors for the project. Ghana Cold Store started operations in December 1959. Erik also had the idea of establishing a milk factory, and thus in January 1960, Ghana Milk Company Limited was inaugurated, with eight shareholders.

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.

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.

Consequently, 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.

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