Cemex’ first quarter turnover rose by 9.5% to US$4,399.7m, helped by higher volumes in most markets, with the notable exception of the United States. The EBITDA improved by 6.0% to US$867.6m but the trading profit slipped by 0.3% to US$557.9m. The net interest charge fell by 30.7% to US$76.7m, which led to an 8.0% increase in the running profit before tax to US$481.2m. The net debt declined by 39.6% to US$5,114m compared with the same time last year, giving a gearing level of 32.5%, but that is on Cemex’ definition that treats effective perpetual debt as equity. First quarter cement shipments were 3.5% higher at 20.56m tonnes, while ready-mixed concrete deliveries were 0.2% lower at 16.84Mm³ reflecting the US volume drop. Aggregates shipments, on the other hand, rose by 8.9% to 38.60Mt.
Mexican turnover rose by 10.6% to US$900.8m while the EBITDA moved ahead more modestly by 4.0% to US$335.6m. Domestic cement deliveries by rose around 6% while cement prices improved by about 1% in both constant pesos and US dollars. Ready-mixed concrete deliveries advanced by some 12% and prices were, on average, around 3% higher, while aggregates shipments jumped by 91% and prices improved by 18%. Housebuilding and infrastructure spending were the main drivers of increased demand.
The abrupt ending last year of the prolonged housebuilding boom in led to a 19.6% drop in the United States turnover to US$834.8m and the EBITDA declined by 34.0% to US$178.7m. Cement deliveries fell by 18% though prices still improved by 7%.
Overall European turnover rose by 21.6% to US$1,753.9m, reflecting not only higher prices, but also the weakness of the dollar, and the EBITDA was up by 28.1% to US$204.9m. In Spain, where turnover increased by 23.9% to US$509.9m, the EBITDA added 17.8% to US$153.2m. Cement shipments in Spain increased by 2% and domestic prices rose by 10%. In the downstream businesses, ready-mixed concrete deliveries were 1% ahead and prices rose by 10%, while in aggregates prices rose by 13% and volumes by 27%. In Great Britain, domestic shipments of cementitious materials rose by 4% and average cement were some 5% higher, while consolidated ready-mixed concrete shipments declined by 4% while prices rose by a similar percentage. British aggregates prices were 2% ahead on volumes that were off by 2%.
The British profit contribution, however, declined by 30.4% to US$22.3m on a turnover 4.0% higher at US$470.7m. In Germany, domestic cement deliveries rose by some 50% in a traditionally weak winter quarter, while prices improved by 3% in local currency. In France, where Cemex does not produce cement, ready-mixed concrete deliveries rose by 6%, with prices up by 4%. In French aggregates, both volumes and prices improved by around 6% across the product mix. In the rest of Europe, cement shipments were helped by the weather and rose by 69%, while weighted average prices added 13%, while in ready-mixed concrete, volumes rose by 14% and prices by 10%.