Cemex 3Q sales

Cemex 3Q sales
Published: 14 October 2003

Cemex sees imporoved results for the third quarter with improving sales in all its major markets apart from the United States
Cemex, the world's third-largest cement producer has announced improved results for the third quarter, as sales grew strongly in all its main markets apart from the US. Net profits rose from US$17m to US$140m but this was almost entirely due to a US$247m loss in Cemex's securities portfolio last year. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation increased 13 per cent to US$570m.  Steadily increasing sales volumes, which increased 7 per cent in dollar terms to $1.8bn, along with improved margins, were primarily responsible for the recovery in performance.  The company also managed to steady its investment portfolio, which showed a profit of US$6m in the quarter, despite a sharp depreciation in the peso in the past three months. A similar drop in the peso in the third quarter of last year was largely responsible for the portfolio's serious losses.  The results were obtained despite the company's continued uncharacteristic difficulties in raising prices in its core domestic market. Long criticised for what are seen by critics as monopolistic pricing policies, Cemex only raised its cement prices by 2 per cent over the past 12 months in Mexico, half the rate of inflation. In 2002, it had also raised prices by less than inflation.  Total sales in the country increased by 6 per cent to US$663m, mainly thanks to heavy government investment in building low-cost housing, and to big infrastructure projects.  In the US, sales dropped one per cent to US$471m, while average prices fell two per cent, despite a pick-up in demand that saw its volume of cement sold rise by three per cent.