Business

Jamaica to make first clinker shipment to Venezuela

BY SHAMILLE SCOTT Business Reporter scotts@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, December 20, 2013    

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CARIBBEAN Cement Company will send its first clinker shipment to Venezuela tomorrow, as part of an agreement to supply 100,000 tonnes of the product over five months to the South American country.

Clinker, the intermediate product made in cement manufacturing, will be supplied to Pertigalete Venezuela. The US$8.5-million deal was facilitated under the compensation mechanism of the PetroCaribe Agreement, whereby the Government of Jamaica can service a loan of over US$2.4 billion from the South American country with exports.

After three years of negotiations between the cement company and the Governments of Jamaica and Venezuela, the firm will export 20,000 tonnes of clinker per month between December and April next year.

"This arrangement will afford the opportunity to pre- utilise our clinker manufacturing plant, improve our financial performance and bolster our sustainability as an iconic Jamaican institution," said Anthony Haynes, general manager of Carib Cement.

He said the company plans to continue negotiations to supply the product.

"We hope that this shipment represents the first of a sustainable agreement where we can supply products to Venezuela," he said in his remarks at the press conference to commemorate the first shipment at the Jamaica Gypsum and Quarries Pier yesterday.

Jamaica's total debt to Venezuela is about US$2.5 billion while the annual debt payment currently is about US$100 million per annum. So US$8.5 million is about eight per cent for the annual payment, said Wesley Hughes, CEO of the PetroCaribe Development Fund.

"We expect that this is just the first of many; if we have $20 million per annum from one company we can see that this is significant," he said.

The country has the potential to export up to US$100 million in products to Venezuela.

Carib Cement posted a net profit of $168.9 million for the third quarter ending September 30, 2013, compared to a $245-million loss over the same three months last year. The positive result was boosted by increased cement sales volumes in both local and export markets — up 18 per cent and 60 per cent respectively over year earlier levels — contributing to a 52 per cent jump in total revenue to $3.2 billion.

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