Cemex first quarter turnover declined by 10.2% to US$3,042.6m, which represented an underlying reduction of some 16%. EBITDA declined by 22.8% to US$515m, which becomes 29% once taking changes in structure and currency movements into account.
The trading profit fell by 50.3% to US$148.4m and, after net interest charges that were 55.2% higher at US$308.3m and other financial items, the pre-tax loss emerged just 0.2% higher at US$231.7m. Equity shareholders’ funds recovered by 16.4% to US$19,381.1m to give a gearing level of 93.1% compared with 134.5% a year earlier, thanks to the raising of fresh capital.
Cement shipments in the first quarter declined by 6.1% to 14.45Mt, while aggregates production was down by 13.2% to 32.5Mt and ready-mixed concrete deliveries fell by 16.3% to 10.76Mm³. Volumes were negatively affected not just by the weaker economic activity, but also by an unusually severe winter in both Europe and North America.
The Mexican turnover declined by 4.3% to US$741.5m and the EBITDA was off by 10.4% to US$258.0m, while the trading profit fell by 13.4% to US$221m. Domestic cement deliveries fell by around 12% as construction activity was down both in the infrastructure and the commercial building fields.
The US turnover fell by a further 24.0% to US$551.8m on top of the 39.1% drop in the previous year. The EBITDA moved into negative territory with a US$23.4m loss against a US$32.3m profit in the previous first quarter and the trading loss widened by 39.5% to US$180.7m as falling industrial and commercial demand combined with harsh weather conditions to provide a very difficult trading environment. Cemex’ US cement volumes declined by a further 8% on the 33% drop seen in the first quarter of last year and cement also came down by around 8%.
In Europe, overall turnover declined by 11.6% to US$947m in the wake of weakening economies and the second harsh winter in a row. The EBITDA dropped further and fell into a US$0.9m loss compared with a US$42.1m profit a year ago. At the trading level, a US$82.0m loss was incurred.