Cemex sees 4th quarter sales near US$4.3bn

Cemex sees 4th quarter sales near US$4.3bn
Published: 19 December 2006

Mexico’s Cemex said on Monday it expects fourth-quarter sales to rise 9 percent from a year ago to $4.3bn, with solid operations at home offsetting weak U.S. sales. 
Cemex said earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, would be about $930m for the October-December period, a rise of 3 per cent from a year earlier. 
It also said it sees its operating profit jumping 22 per cent in the fourth quarter to about $620m. 
Cemex said its Mexican cement sales volumes are forecast to rise 6 per cent from a year earlier, while ready-mix volumes are seen jumping 22 per cent, driven by a boom in the infrastructure and construction sectors.
In the United States, Cemex’s main market in terms of revenues, cement sales volumes are seen falling 11 percent from the same quarter a year earlier and ready-mix volumes are expected to drop 27 per cent. 
Cemex reduced its full-year 2006 cement volume outlook for the United States to a decline of 1 per cent, from a previously stated forecast of a rise of 1 per cent. 
"The residential sector continues declining faster than generally expected earlier this year, as a result of declining new home sales and high inventory levels," Cemex said of the US market. 
Cemex has made a $12 billion hostile takeover bid for Australian building materials firm Rinker Group Ltd. , which is fighting the unsolicited bid and has rejected the offer on grounds the price is "far too low". 
The United States is Rinker’s key market, accounting for 80 percent of its revenue. Cemex, which operates in more than 50 countries, is the top U.S. cement maker. 
Analysts say the U.S. residential sector is key to Cemex’s bid for Rinker as further or prolonged weakening might dent its share price. Cemex made no mention of its bid for Rinker in its fourth-quarter guidance statement.