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Regional economies continue to experience declining GDP. Consumer demand has reduced and there has been a curb on investments by both the Regional Governments and private sector.
The strength of the Group is highlighted during a period of economic downturn. Our financial sector has rebounded to post strong quarter-on-quarter growth. The beverage, retail & services and distribution sectors have also recorded significant growth and are on track to meet budget.
By contrast, our manufacturing, automotive and media sectors have been negatively impacted in line with reduced demand. Furthermore, our overseas businesses have continued to produce positive earnings growth that has partially offset the decline experienced in the Trinidad and Tobago market.
Headline revenues declined by 8.5% over 1Q 20 08 whilst Earnings per Share (EPS) for the quarter was $0.62 compared with $0.68 last year. The total Asset position grew by 4% since December 2008 and now stands at $10 billion. As a result of the strong cash position, we have decided to repay $100 million of debt. I remain confident that your Group is well poised to deliver on its targets.
A. Norman Sabga
Chairman and Chief Executive
May 28, 2009