Cemex said on Tuesday its net profit for October-December was US$334m, up from US$91m in the same period a year earlier, also boosted by foreign exchange gains versus a currency loss in the fourth quarter of 2003. Cemex had been expected to post a net profit of US$298m, according to a Reuters survey.
Hector Medina, Cemex’s executive vice president for planning and finance, said the market was looking rosy for 2005, especially as Cemex’s cement prices rose 4 per cent on average in 2004 and while ready-mix prices jumped 7 per cent. "We are therefore entering 2005 with higher average dollar prices than the average for 2004, partly as a result of a stronger exchange rate, and thus maintaining the positive momentum for prices," Medina said.
Cemex also said that sales in the fourth quarter grew 12 per cent to US$2bn and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 14 per cent to US$582m. EBITDA margins also improved. "These increases are due to the continued recovery in cement prices, higher cement and ready-mix volumes, lower costs of goods sold as a percentage of sales despite higher energy costs," Cemex said. In the fourth quarter, Cemex reported a foreign exchange gain of US$38m versus a loss of US$29m in October-December 2003.