The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has arranged a US$105mn financial package for cement holding TCL Group to carry out modernization and expansion works at Jamaican subsidiary Caribbean Cement (CCC), the IFC announced.
"This is part of our overall strategic plan to expand capacity, lower costs and introduce new products," TCL investor relations and corporate communications manager Alan Nobie told BNamericas.
The IFC will provide TCL with a US$35mn loan and has helped to raise an additional US$70mn, comprised of a US$20mn loan and a US$50mn-equivalent bond issue in Trinidad & Tobago dollars, which are both being handled by Trinidad’s Republic Finance and Merchant Bank.
CCC’s upgrades will also allow the company to reduce carbon emissions and improve environmental standards, the IFC said.
This will allow CCC to apply for carbon credits under the Kyoto protocol, Nobie confirmed. "It is due course - we are setting the stage for that," he said, adding that the company aims to apply for ISO 14000 certification "in the not-too-distant future."
As part of its upgrade program, CCC has already launched a new product - Carib Cement Plus - in the Jamaican market. The product has far surpassed company expectations and accounts for 74% of company production. In the few months since its launch, it "has almost completely taken over the market," a CCC executive recently said.
Cement sales in Jamaica came to about 862,000t in 2004. Demand is expected to grow some 8% annually for the next five years.
The TCL Group is the dominant supplier and only integrated cement producer in the English-speaking Caribbean, consisting of seven operating companies in Trinidad, Barbados, Jamaica and Anguilla.