Cemex' first half turnover improved by 9.7% to US$7461.9m, but the EBITDA still came off by a further 4% to US$1132m and the trading profit was off by 3.2% to US$428.6m. Net interest payments were 4% higher at US$684.6m, giving a pre-tax loss 2.2% lower at US$460.6m, while the net attributable loss was 12.1% lower at US$570m. Shareholders' funds were down by 1.1% at the end of June to US$15,803.3m and the net debt declined by 3.5% to US$17,753m, but the gearing level was 4.8% higher at 112.3%.

Group cement shipments in the six months improved by 2% to 33.03Mt, while aggregates deliveries were 2.9% higher at 77.76Mt and ready-mixed concrete shipments rose by 8.9% to 26.44Mm³. Cemex has changed its geographical breakdown, by creating a new Mediterranean region that includes the Middle East plus Spain and Croatia in southern Europe. The rest of Europe has been renamed “Northern Europe”.

The Mexican turnover improved by 8.6% to US$1808m, but the EBITDA advanced by a more modest 3.7% to US$600.7m as increased competition and higher costs put pressure on margins. Domestic cement deliveries improved by 2% and the average cement price was up by 3%, with the main demand coming from infrastructure and commercial and industrial projects, with housing being weaker because of shortages of finance. In the United States, turnover declined by a further 8.9% to US$1126m and the loss on the EBITDA line increased from US$6.8m to US$70.2m. Cement shipments fell by 7% and in the second quarter the drop was 10%, while prices eased by around 1%. Unfavourable climatic conditions, poor employment figures and uncertainty about federal government finances have depressed volumes in the period.

Northern European turnover rose by 24.1% to US$2328.8m and the EBITDA rose by 127.4% to US$161.6m. European cement deliveries were boosted by a mild winter and by the economic recovery being seen in most of the countries concerned and shipments advanced by about 18%, with prices being 1% higher. In Great Britain, cement shipments improved by 10% and prices by 2%, while in Germany, cement volumes rose by 21%, though prices eased by 2%, while in aggregates volumes rose by 16% but the average price was 1% lower. Polish volumes, which had suffered in the previous winter, advanced strongly with cement deliveries rising by 26% and prices by 3%. The Mediterranean area generated a turnover 1.2% lower at US$912.6m and the EBITDA declined by 8.9% to US$240.7m. Both volumes and prices declined by about 3% in cement. Spain saw cement volumes decline by 4%, with prices falling by 3%. Egyptian cement volumes declined by 3% and prices by 4%. Elsewhere in the region, cement volumes were down in the United Arab Emirates.

Turnover in South America, Central America and the Caribbean rose by 18.7% to US$845.10m, but the EBITDA declined by 5.1% to US$241.4m. The cement volume improved by 4% and the price in local currency by 3%, with domestic deliveries rising in Colombia, Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador. In Colombia, which is the biggest contributor, cement volumes were stable and the price improved by 3%. Cemex' Asian turnover declined by 5.7% to US$251m and the EBITDA dropped by 41.0% to US$43.1m. Domestic cement deliveries declined by 9% and prices fell by 6%, principally because of the weakness in the Philippine market, where Cemex saw volumes drop by 16%.