The Venezuelan unit of Mexican cement company Cemex (CX) saw profits skyrocket 87 per cent during the first half of the year as demand for cement in the Andean country set new records. Profits for the first six months in Venezuela climbed to 87.9 billion bolivars ($40.9m), 87per cent higher than the same period last year, as the economy continued to benefit for record high oil gains, according to a company statement released Friday. Total sales in Venezuela during the period stood at VEB474.4 billion ($220.7m), 22 per cent higher than the first semester of 2005, Cemex data show.
Meanwhile, the company’s Panama subsidiary saw profit drop to $11.6m a 79 per cent decline from the same period last year, according to the statement. Cemex’s profits for the Dominincan Republic subsidiary stood at VEB7.5 billion ($3.5m), also lower than last year. In a consolidated statement, all three units generated a combined net profit of US$56m, down 22 per cent from the first semester in 2005, Cemex noted.
A consumption boom in Venezuela has spurred activity in the construction industry to one of the highest levels in years. Increased building activity has even led to shortages of construction materials that have hampered a number of projects.
The government of President Hugo Chavez has promised to seek new supply fronts for cement and other materials from friendly nations. His government is planning to build a state-run cement company with help from Iran that will compete with private sector cement makers.