Business

Carib Cement doubles profits in 2018

BY DURRANT PATE
Observer business writer

Sunday, July 21, 2019

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Carib Cement has more than doubled its pre-tax profit for 2018 while revenues were slightly up.

Pre-tax profit went up by a whopping 118% moving from $1.5 billion in 2017 to $3.3 billion for 2018. Net profit after taxes for the period amounted to $2.5 billion, up from $1.1 billion at the end of 2017.

In its 2018 annual report, Carib Cement reported revenues of $17.6 billion, up from $16.5 billion, representing an increase of 6% year over year. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and restructuring costs for 2018 was $5.3 billion or 79% higher than the $3 billion reported for 2017.

Earnings per share was $2.90 compared to $1.31 in the corresponding year. While there were exports to Guantanamo Bay, exports of cement declined during the year by 87 per cent. Carib Cement is the sole manufacturer of Portland and blended cements in Jamaica and has been in operation since 1952.

Export sales decline

In his report to shareholders at last Thursday's annual general meeting, outgoing General Manager Peter Donkersloot Ponce explained that the decline in export sales for 2018 was a deliberate strategy, “as we redirected resources to focus on surges of demand in the local market. There has been continued engagement of export customers and opportunities seized whenever the prices and terms were considered attractive.”

Donkersloot Ponce, whose three-year contract comes to an end in the coming week, told shareholders that local demand for cement was steady throughout the year boasting that the company is pleased to have met the needs of the market. He pointed out that Carib Cement has been working with Government, private developers and other construction interests to incorporate more concrete solutions into its building projects.

“This initiative has been gaining traction as many Caribbean countries embrace solutions that can better withstand harsh weather conditions that will increasingly affect the region,” the outgoing Carib Cement general manager told a packed room at the Spanish Court Hotel. These efforts, he reported, have resulted in increased concrete application amongst private sector developers in hotel and industrial projects across the region.

This includes the construction of more concrete houses, concrete roadways, concrete waste water pipes, concrete fencing, concrete driveways, car parks and concrete roofs for houses. Carib Cement expects continued growth in concrete usage by governments and private investors.

Turning to capital investments, Donkersloot Ponce said “throughout the year, planned investments were made in key areas, resulting in continued improvements in safety, our people, the environment, as well as the reliability and productivity of our equipment. We pursued an ambitious agenda for maintenance and installation of new equipment and successfully executed 10 major projects”.

This included the installation of a new coal mill, reclaimer and transport compressors. The value of this investment was more than US$ 80 million.

Health, Safety and the Environment

In terms of health and safety, the Carib Cement boss reported that initiatives undertaken in this area have resulted in the achievement of 461 days at its sole Rockfort, East Kingston plant and 1,285 days at the quarries without lost-time incidents for permanent employees.

As regards the environment, Carib Cement has implemented major investments that have led to improvements in its dust-mitigation programme, greater housekeeping activities and demolition activity, where significant amounts of scrap metal continue to be sold to contribute to cost reduction. He said the company is excited about the ongoing transformation and greening of its Rockfort plant and is very pleased to have planted more than 100 trees there throughout the year.


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