Nothing for Carib Cement stockholders

Carib Cement silos.

Jamaica’s Caribbean Cement Company slashed the cost formerly associated with leasing of Kiln 5 and Mill 5, from Trinidad Cement after acquiring direct ownership of the assets by $2 million per annum but shareholders are getting none of it the September quarterly results show.
Shareholders are unlikely to see any major benefit form the savings until 2019 when the plant upgrading costing US$45 million comes on stream and aided by a near 5 percent price increase effected in October to help offset cost increase.
For a number of years, some of the company’s shareholders have complained that the lease arrangement of the two items with the Trinidad parent was not in favour of the minority owners as it was costing too much and was not properly accounted for in past financial reports, thus suppressing the profit. With the termination of the lease and acquisition of assets it was expected that there would be a immediate noted impact on the results, that was not to be. The interim results to September, with the first period showing the full impact, indicate that shareholders are not benefitting from the $500 million cost reduction per quarter.
Data disclosed by Jamaica’s sole cement producer in their nine months interim report, show that excluding foreign exchange loss, there is a $500 million savings in the overall cost associated the acquisition of the two items formerly leased.
The equipment lease ended in April 2018 when both parties agreed to end the arrangement, leading the Jamaican company to purchase the assets. The interim figures show finance cost excluding foreign exchange loss rose of $227 million up sharply from just $11 million in 2017, in the quarter, resulting from funds borrowed to help finance the purchase of the equipment and $299 million versus $4 million year to date. Depreciation and amortisation cost rose to $342 million from $132 million in 2017 and for the nine months to $808 million from $400 million in 2017, with the increase mostly relating to the former leased equipment. The net effect is that the company enjoyed a savings of $500 million for the quarter or $2 billion per annum. None of these gains are so far flowing to the bottom-line for the benefit of shareholders.
Revenues grew 6.7 percent in the September quarter or $282 million but certain direct operating cost rose by $546 million with no indication that any attempt was made to recover the increased cost except for price increase in October. The effect is that profit before foreign exchange losses and taxation was only $148 million greater than in the prior year, when $846 million was reported.

Peter Donersloot – Managing Director

“The true story should be that the company’s performance illustrates the resilience of the its operations with the reporting of a profit even when taking a big foreign exchange loss, the company’s managing director, Peter Donkersloot, suggested in an interview with IC Going forward he said that, the upgrading of the plant will push the capacity to 1.2 million tonnes of cement allowing them to meet local demand and resume exports. “The upgrade should be completed and be in production around December but no later than January,” Donersloot stated. The immediate impact will be the elimination of imports that added to cost of sales and reduced profit margin, up to September”
Subsequent to the end of the quarter the price of cement was adjusted up by 4-4.5 percent Donkersloot confirmed. Information gleaned is that the increase took place for sales as of October 22 and is the first increase in 16 months.
The often talked about energy plant to be constructed to cut the huge energy bill was not an area the managing director was prepared to talk about, in light of negotiations currently in place.
As it stands, what appears to be a decision to defend their market share resulted in the company reporting much lower profit in the quarter as a result of a $464 million foreign exchange loss hitting the results for the September quarter, pulling the strong 44 percent increase in operating profit to $1.2 billion from $836 million, into lower net profit of only $305 million, versus $748 million generated for the prior year’s period.
Since the results, the stock that has been trading between $47 and $50 dropped to a recent low of $41.20.

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