Were it not for a near-14 per cent devaluation in the Jamaican dollar against its main trading counterpart - the US dollar - Caribbean Cement Company would have seen an increase in its net profit last financial year.
The cement manufacturer made an operating profit of J$949m in 2008, 19 per cent higher than the J$798m it made during 2007.
Carib achieved this on higher revenue up from J$7.84bn to J$8.81bn, despite a 7.9 per cent reduction in sales volume.
Higher finance costs – J$377m compared to J$138m in 2007 – dragged down the bottom line, which showed a reduction in net profit from J$522m in 2007 to J$416m last year.
"This decline is due primarily to the very significant increase of J$213m in foreign exchange translation losses during 2008, which is included in Finance Costs," said the company in its report to shareholders.
The reduction in cement volume sales from from 813,448t during the 12 months to December 31, 2007 to 748,723t last year, reflected tightening economic conditions, but the cement manufacturer said it maintained market share of 86 per cent.
To mitigate the effects of the sliding dollar, Carib Cement said in its report that "an aggressive export marketing programme is being pursued and, with the increased competitiveness of our product externally from the further devaluation of the Jamaican currency during the first quarter we expect exports to constitute at least 15 per cent of total sales for 2009."