Fri | Nov 16, 2018

Caribbean Cement gives staff $260m office present

Published:Friday | August 3, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Jamaica's sole cement maker is pouring more than a quarter of a billion dollars into new office digs for its administrative staff at the Rockfort complex in Kingston.

Caribbean Cement Company Limited described the project as an investment in its employees amid a much larger US$50 million spend on the manufacturing plant being rolled out over three years.

"Indeed, our unequivocal vote of confidence in our employees was made even more evident when on July 16, 2018, Carib Cement broke ground for a new administration building at Rockfort, an investment of $260 million," said Chairman Parris Lyew-Ayee and General Manager Peter Donkersloot Ponce in a statement accompanying the cement maker's June quarter earnings report.

Sales at the company ratcheted 11 per cent to $4.4 billion in the second quarter. And profit rose at the same rate to more than $673 million, notwithstanding a large debt financing charge of $412 million incurred in the quarter. Half-year profits, meanwhile, topped $1 billion - simultaneously falling just shy of the profit made at HY2017, but putting the company nearly in line with the $1.15 billion profit it made for all of that year.

"This performance resulted from the positive impact gained from the termination of the lease agreement with Trinidad Cement Limited for the Kiln 5 and Mill 5, improvements in sales and marketing efforts, among other strategic decisions," said the company.

Caribbean Cement signed a memorandum of understanding with immediate parent company Trinidad Cement, agreeing to terminate an operating lease agreement in effect since July 2010 and returning ownership of core assets to the Rockfort company.

Resulting from the transactions around that deal, Caribbean Cement's fixed assets, which were valued at $8 billion at the end of last year, are now booked at more than $23 billion on its balance sheet.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com