Cemex has agreed the sale of seven quarries, three aggregates distribution centres and a concrete block plant in Kentucky to Panadero Aggregates for US$90m. Panadero Aggregates was formed earlier this year by two former Florida Rock executives.

Through its Panamanian subsidiary, which last year had its cement capacity at the Bayano works trebled to 2.1m tonnes per annum, Cemex has been awarded a 0.5m tonnes supply contract for the expansion of the Panama Canal, which includes the construction of a third set of locks.

Cemex' first half turnover came off by 6.1% to US$6,804.3m and the EBITDA declined down by 17.3% to US$1,179.2m, while the trading profit fell by 34.7% to US$442.8m. Net interest payments jumped by 52.1% to US$608.3m, resulting in a pre-tax loss of US$470.8m compared with a loss of just US$71.1m a year earlier. Equity shareholders' funds were 14.9% higher at US$15,973.0m at the end of June and although the net debt declined by 19.2% to US$17,129.0m, the gearing level, although lower, remained high at 107.2%. Cement shipments in the six months were just 1.2% lower at 32.37m tonnes, but aggregates deliveries declined more markedly with an 8.4% reduction to 75.59m tonnes and ready-mixed concrete shipments fell by 10.3% to 24.29m m³.  

The Mexican turnover improved by 2.5% to US$1,664.8m, but the EBITDA declined by 5.5% to US$579.2m. Domestic cement deliveries were down by 8% and the average cement price eased by 1%, with cement intensive projects expected to fall by around 17% this year because of reduced activity in public sector construction during 2010.  Aggregates volumes fell by 13%, though average prices improved by 12%. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries fell by 16% while prices were marginally higher. For the full year, volumes are expected to decline by around 4% in both cement and aggregates and by twice that percentage in ready-mixed concrete.  

In the United States, turnover fell by 16.1% to US$1,235.7m and the EBITDA line went from a US$102.2m profit to a US$6.8m loss. Cement shipments fell by a further 1% and prices by around 8% on average. The aggregates tonnage came down by some 6% and prices were off by about 4%. In ready-mixed concrete, volumes declined by 6% and prices dropped by 14%. Helped by federal government measures to boost the economy, volumes across all three product categories are expected to improve by in the region of 5% for the full year.

The European turnover declined by 9.9% to US$2,273.5m and the EBITDA fell by 32.1% to US$163.3m. European cement deliveries were badly affected by the weather as well as the economy and shipments declined by 13% and prices by 5%. Spain has continued to be the worst hit, with domestic cement shipments dropping by 27%, less than the 48% drop in the first half or last year, but worse than the 21% fall in the first half of the previous year. Aggregates shipments were down by 11%, but prices were stable. Ready-mixed concrete volumes did marginally less badly than cement with a 25% volume but prices did worse, falling by 8%.  Other than in Spain, cement volumes in the main European markets are expected to improve this year for the fu8ll year. French volumes declined by 8% in aggregates and by 6% in ready-mixed concrete.

In Great Britain, cement shipments were down by 1% and prices by 5%, while in aggregates shipments fell 2% and prices by 6%, while in ready-mixed concrete, deliveries fell by 8% and prices by around 6%. In Germany, volumes declined by 5% but prices improved by 2%, while in aggregates volumes came off by 10%, but prices improved by 7%, and in ready-mixed concrete volumes fell by 11% and with prices only being marginally weaker. Next door in Poland, the winter affected volumes even more and cement deliveries were down by 7% and prices by 6%. On the other hand, Polish aggregates shipments improved by 4% and those of ready-mixed concrete by 10%, though prices came off by 8% and 14% respectively.

The turnover in South America, Central America and the Caribbean was off by 2.2% to US$712.0m and the EBITDA declined by 2.7% to US$254.3m. The cement volume was off by 1% and the price in local currency by 3%, though there was a 4% increase in US dollar terms. The aggregates volume improved by 3% but the local price declined by 10%, while in ready-mixed concrete deliveries fell by 8% with prices being off by 9% in local currency. In Colombia, now the biggest contributor, cement prices improved by 12% though prices were down by 9%, with volumes in aggregates improving by 4%, but easing in ready-mixed concrete. Downstream prices declined in local currency terms but rose in US dollar terms.

Africa and the Middle East is dominated by Egypt in profit terms. Turnover was off by 1.4% to US$525.1m and the EBITDA declined by 3.4% to US$171.8m. Cement volumes were static, while prices improved by 5%. The downstream operations have a very different geographical mix, with Israel and the Arabian Gulf being the main contributors, and in aggregates volumes rose by 12% and prices by 2%, but declined by 8% and 15% respectively in ready-mixed concrete. In Egypt, cement volumes improved by 4% and prices by 7%, but volumes declined in the United Arab Emirates.

The Asian turnover improved by 11.9% to US$266.1m and the EBITDA rose by 19.0% to US$73.0m. Cement deliveries rose by 22% on stable prices, while aggregates deliveries edged ahead by 1% and prices improved by 8%. In ready-mixed concrete, prices fell by 10% on volumes that were barely stable. In the Philippines, cement volumes improved by 21% and prices by 2%, but for the full year the growth rate is expected to be a more sustainable 13% or so.