Cemex expects its core earnings to come in flat in the first quarter, held back by fewer business days because of Easter. Cemex said on Monday it expects EBITDA to be about $560m in the January-March period. "On a like-to-like basis, adjusting for the fewer business days, EBITDA would be expected to increase by about 5 per cent in the quarter," Cemex said in a statement.
In quarterly guidance, Cemex said operating income is expected to inch up two per cent to US$400m on revenues of more than US$1.9bn, a five per cent increase from the January-March period of 2004. Cemex took over Britain’s RMC Group on March 1 for US$4.1bn, and the earnings guidance for the first quarter does not include RMC operations. However, Cemex, which now operates in more than 50 countries, said its full first-quarter results - due to be released in mid April - will include the consolidation of one month of RMC, the world’s largest ready-mix maker.
"The fundamental drivers of cement and ready mix remain strong in most of our markets and we remain on track to achieve our full-year guidance of EBITDA growth of about 5 per cent in 2005," Chief Financial Officer Rodrigo Trevino. Cemex has also said it expects EBITDA of more than US$2.6bn this year, excluding RMC and also not taking into account the impact of a previously announced sale of assets in the United States.
First-quarter sales volumes are seen falling seven per cent in Mexico, in line with a national decline in cement consumption from the fewer business days and because of wet weather in the quarter. Mexico is Cemex’s top market.
In the United States, Cemex’s No 2 market, cement sales are forecast to remain flat. "Adjusting for one less shipping day this quarter, cement volumes would be expected to increase one per cent," Cemex said. In Spain, its third-largest market, cement volumes are expected to nudge up one per cent from the same period in 2004. Volumes would have jumped 6 per cent if the same number of business days had fallen in the quarter, Cemex said.
Cemex’s shares rose 0.72 percent on Friday to 89.68 pesos, and have gained more than 10 per cent so far in 2005. Its American Depositary Receipts edged up 0.17 per cent to $40.61.