JBG Reports Strong Return on Ethanol Investment

by 5m Editor
9 July 2009, at 10:02a.m.

JAMAICA - Jamaica Broilers Group (JBG) made $828 million in net profit for the fiscal year 2009 which ended 2 May, or an increase of 11.8 per cent year over year, while its ethanol division earned roughly the equivalent of one quarter of its initial US$20-million investment.

Despite higher profits and a 20 per cent jump in revenues to $24 billion, the group showed mixed results. The poultry division earned 8.5 per cent less at $867.3 million than the same period last year, while the Feed and Farm Supplies division saw growth of 49 per cent with earnings before interest taxes and amortisation (EBITDA) of $665 million. The ethanol operations increased 38 per cent to $443 million in EBITDA.

JBG opened its US$20-million ethanol plant in August 2007 and is earning some US$5 million per annum in that division based on the average US dollar rate of $80 over the last year. The earnings from that division will pay for the investment in four years should it maintain current operating margins. The company is, meanwhile, in the final phase of a US$16-million upgrade of its Port Esquivel plant in St Catherine which will double its ethanol output.

The expansion has required a tripling of JBG's net borrowing to $4.8 billion up to May, but its gearing ratio, which is the company's long-term debt to shareholders' equity, remained stable at 1:2 following on 1:4 in 2008.

JBG reported negative cash flow of $505.5 million, still an improvement over its negative balance of $716.6 million in 2008.

JBG commenced production of anhydrous ethanol in July 2007 and has since exported some 75 million gallons of refined fuel to the US resulting in revenues in excess of US$150 million. Nonetheless, while JB Ethanol is seeing strong returns, the US ethanol industry is reeling from low demand and feeble margins following on the volatile oil markets of the past year.