Cemex yesterday denied rumours that it planned to cut 10 per cent of its workforce.
But the company said there would be some reduction in headcount as part of a wider strategy to curtail costs.
"There is a general effort to reduce costs at the global level, but it goes far beyond just lay-offs," said Jorge Perez, a company spokesman in Mexico.
"There is no exact figure, but the lay-offs will be far less than 10 per cent."
Mr Perez’s comments came as rumours began to circulate yesterday that the group had put in place a big job reduction plan to help counter what is turning out to be a sharper-than-expected downturn in the US housing market.
The slump has begun to make itself felt just as Cemex, the world’s biggest producer of ready-mix cement, is in the throes of integrating Rinker, the Australian building materials company, into its global operations following its US$14.2bn purchase of the company this year.
In an interview with the Financial Times last week, Hector Medina, who is responsible for global planning and finance at Cemex, admitted the US downturn was "very deep" and the company "continues to have a problem of visibility".
But he added that Cemex was aware of the conditions at the time of purchase.
"In strategic terms the purchase was based on the long term," he said. "Given the portfolio of Cemex, the addition of Rinker would complement very well our operations."