Record Carib Cement profit up 70%

Caribbean Cement reported record profit for the year ending December 2020 from sales that rose 13 percent to $20 billion and up 17.8 percent in the final quarter to $5 billion from $4.3 billion in 2019.
For the year, profit after tax surged 70 percent to $3.2 billion after tax provision of $1.2 billion. The tax charge includes deferred tax amounting to $414 million, down from $664 million in 2019. The results would have been far better but for a billion loss in foreign exchange movement, but interest cost fell from $939 million to $812 million, partially cushioning some exchange losses. Interest cost will fall further in 2021 as the debt load recedes with the strong cash flows allowing for the rapid repayment of the $4.4 billion of long term loans.
Gross profit improved rapidly, surging faster than the increase in revenues with a 26.45 percent increase from $7.2 billion to $9.1 billion. The company also benefited from reducing administrative and other expenses that fell from 2.5 billion to $2.35 billion. The company has contracts that hedge diesel fuel to protect it from major increases in one of the largest cost in its operations.
Earnings per share came in at $3.76 for the year, just ahead of ICInsider.com’s forecast of $3.76. ICInsider.com projects earnings of $5.7 billion with EPS of $6.70 in 2021.
Cement generated positive cash flow of $6.5 billion, repaid $4.7 billion in loans and paid $1.5 billion to redeem preference shares due to the Trinidad Cement, its immediate majority shareholder. The amount owing for the TCL preference shares is now down to $2.3 billion with loans outstanding at 4.4 billion, of which $3.1 billion is in Jamaican dollars owing to National Commercial Bank and $1.34 billion due to Cemex Espana in US dollars. The reduction in overseas debt has significantly reduced the foreign exchange exposure, with 2021 set to benefit from a sharp reduction in exchange losses.
At the end of the year, shareholders’ equity moved to $11.5 billion from $8.3 billion at the end of 2019. The stock is one of the original IC TOP 15 stocks for 2021 in the main market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange and remains in the list but now at 13th position with a target price of $135 in the next twelve months. The company is set to benefit from an improving economy, with low interest rates encouraging real estate development and ownership as well as expansion and rehabilitation of the country’s infrastructure that will consume an increasing amount of cement.
The stock closed at $65 on Friday with eth PE ratio at 17 times 2020 earnings and just 10 times 2021 projected earnings. The company has a strong balance sheet that is getting stronger each year and is moving into a phase where the payment of a dividend cannot be far away. Based on the above, Caribbean Cement enjoys ICInsider.com coveted BUY RATED investment approval.

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