Exchange rate erodes Carib Cement's profits

- Thursday, November 27, 2003

Exchange rate erodes Carib Cement's profits

Jamaica's Caribbean Cement Company (Carib Cement) saw its nine-month profits for 2003 decline 19% in US dollar terms owing to a weaker exchange rate, with profits slipping to US$5.8mn from US$4.7mn for the same period last year, the company announced.

"There has been a significant deterioration in the Jamaican dollar exchange rate between this year and last year, resulting in a substantial decline in the company's profits in US dollar terms," the statement quoted chairman Brian Young and director Rollin Bertrand as saying.

Over the same period, revenue grew to 2.9bn Jamaican dollars (US$48mn), compared to 2.7bn in the first nine months of 2002.

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Carib Cement sold a total 447,528t of cement during the same period, down 3.4% from the previous year's 463,366t. However, operating profit was up 19% to 560mn (US$9.4mn) compared to last year's 475mn.

Works executed earlier in the year have created productivity benefits and clinker production has been 17% above the record production levels last year," the directors added. "However, instead of increased sales, we have had a significant build-up in clinker and cement inventories."

Therefore, net cash is at a negative 30.9mn Jamaican dollars in the first nine months of the year, compared to 255mn in the same-period 2002.

"We consider our performance this year disappointing," the directors said, "However, our long-term outlook is very positive."

The company is seeking to raise US$100mn to invest in expanding its operations, when current market conditions improve, the statement added.

DUMPING

Increased cement imports to the island are hurting the company's market share, Carib Cement added. The company is lobbying for a proposed 50% tariff increase on imported cement. The cement company claims importer Arc is importing dumped cement from Egypt, along with imports from Mainland International, BNamericas previously reported.

Carib Cement president Anthony Haynes claims that Arc imported 111,000t of cement this year while Carib Cement sold 420,000t nationally through mid-September, which means imported brands represent 20% of Jamaican sales.

Carib Cement is owned by TCL, which also owns Trinidad & Tobago's cement company Trinidad Cement Ltd. and consists of seven operating companies in Trinidad, Barbados, Jamaica and Anguilla.

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