Displaying items by tag: Cemex
Cemex trumpeted last week that it had returned to positive net income for the first time in six years in its fourth quarter results for 2015. In effect the multinational building materials company was saying it is putting its house in order following taking on too much debt in the late 2000s. Similar reassuring noises have repeatedly been made as it has cut its debts down since that time.
The figure Cemex was shouting about this time was its controlling interest net income or the net income attributable to the controlling shareholder. It has risen to a gain of US$75m after being negative, or in loss, since 2010. In that year the sting from the financial crash in 2008 caused havoc and net sales for the company hit a low of US$14bn, having been at over US$20bn in the boom times of 2007 and 2008.
Meanwhile, the company has been steadily whittling away at its total debt reducing it down to just US$15.3bn in 2015. This is a massive figure given that its total equity was US$9.5bn in 2015. The debt is 1.5 times higher than the value of the company.
By comparison, Lafarge was reporting a net debt of Euro9.3bn in 2014 compared to a total equity of Euro17.3bn. Its debt-to-equity ratio was far smaller than Cemex’s despite being perceived as the weaker partner financially going into the merger with Holcim in 2015. Unsurprisingly, it was news in August 2015 when Cemex refinanced a bank loan agreement for a US$15bn debt that was previously renegotiated in 2009. Everyone is watching Cemex’s debts keenly.
Against this financial backdrop Cemex’s cement business has been steadily producing fairly static levels of cement since 2009. It 2015 it has reported that it produced 66Mt. However, net sales fell in 2015 by 8% year-on-year to US$14bn, a disappointing result following sales growth since 2012. Fernando A Gonzalez, Cemex’s Chief Executive Officer, blamed it on a ‘challenging’ macroeconomic environment.
Notably overall net sales have been down in Mexico, Northern Europe and Central and South America in 2015. Although Cemex hasn’t released cement sales volumes, volumes fell by 3% in Northern Europe, 2% in its Mediterranean region and 4% in Central and South America in 2015. Thankfully, growth continued to pick up the US, bolstered by housing and infrastructure spending. The Philippines has remained a powerhouse in cement consumption in Asia.
Reviewing Cemex’s expansion projects in 2015 suggest muted capital expenditure with a focus on upgrades and side projects rather than clinker production growth. Such announcements included projects in Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Mexico. The exception was in the Philippines where a full-on US$300m project including a new 1.5Mt/yr plant was announced in May 2015. Given the surging cement volume sales in the country this is likely a safe investment.
As discussed previously in this column and elsewhere Cemex has suffered from high debts at exactly the time its major international rivals have started to merge. At the same time its Chinese rivals in terms of production capacity have undergone similar capacity consolidation as part of state mandated capacity reduction initiatives. This has left Cemex between the mega-cement producers like LafargeHoclim and HeidelbergCement and the up-and-comers such as Eurocement or Votorantim.
Now, its reliance on markets in the Americas it hitting a roadblock from reducing growth south of the US as global commodity prices tumble and economies suffer. It couldn’t have happened at a worse time for the company. Bar the odd bright spot such as the US and the Philippines it seems that all Cemex can do is wait it out.
Mexico: Cemex has announced its results for the fourth quarter and full year 2015. On a like-for-like basis, for ongoing operations and adjusting for currency fluctuations, consolidated net sales increased by 2% during the fourth quarter of 2015 to US$3.4bn. They rose by 5% for the full year to US$14.1bn. Operating earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) (also on a like-for-like basis) increased by 7% during the fourth quarter to US$663m and went up by 9% for the full year to US$2.6bn.
The increase in consolidated net sales, on a like-to-like basis, was due to higher prices of Cemex's products, in local currency terms, across most of its operations, as well as higher volumes in the US, the Mediterranean and Asia. On a like-for-like basis, operating earnings before other expenses, net, in the fourth quarter increased by 11% to US$410m and in the full year increased by 17% to US$1.7bn versus the same periods in 2014.
Fernando A Gonzalez, Cemex Chief Executive Officer, said, "Despite a challenging macroeconomic environment, which has affected many of our markets, our industry and Cemex in particular, we have been able to meet these challenges and deliver strong operating and financial results, on a like-to-like basis."
"Our full-year net income was positive for the first time in six years. In addition, our operating EBITDA increased by 9%, on a like-to-like basis, reflecting our cost-reduction program of US$150m as well as a positive operating leverage in several of our markets, which translated into a 1.1 percentage-point improvement in operating EBITDA margin. I am particularly pleased with the growth in our free cash flow after maintenance capex of more than US$480 million, which enabled us to reduce our debt by close to US$1bn during the year."
Sales in Cemex's Mexican operations decreased 19% in the fourth quarter of 2015 to US$672m, compared with US$827m in the fourth quarter of 2014. Operating EBITDA decreased by 10% to US$231m versus the same period of last year.
Cemex's operations in the United States reported net sales of US$967m in the fourth quarter of 2015, up by 5% from the same period in 2014. Operating EBITDA increased 26% to US$173m in the quarter, versus US$138m in the same quarter of 2014.
In Northern Europe, net sales for the fourth quarter of 2015 decreased 18% to US$738m, compared with US$901m in the fourth quarter of 2014. Operating EBITDA was US$71m for the quarter, 14% lower than the same period of 2014.
Fourth-quarter net sales in the Mediterranean region were US$370m, 4% higher compared with US$357m during the fourth quarter of 2014. Operating EBITDA decreased 5% to US$63m for the quarter versus the same period in 2014.
Cemex's operations in South, Central America and the Caribbean reported net sales of US$436m during the fourth quarter of 2015, representing a decrease of 15% over the same period of 2014. Operating EBITDA decreased 25% to US$125m in the fourth quarter of 2015, from US$165m in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Operations in Asia reported a 4% increase in net sales for the fourth quarter of 2015 to US$162m, versus the fourth quarter of 2014, and operating EBITDA for the quarter was US$46m, up by 4% from the same period of 2014.
Mexico: Cemex has contributed to the restoration of the Monterrey-Nuevo Laredo highway, the main export-import route between Mexico and Texas, US. With 52% of Mexico's imports and exports moving along this highway, it is one of the main trade routes across the Mexican and US border.
With more than 15,000/day of trucks using the highway, its repair required extremely resistant and durable construction materials that guarantee road safety. To this end, Cemex supplied 98,000m3 of hydraulic concrete to restore a 15.6km stretch of the highway.
Cemex solved the challenge of paving the road without stopping traffic by utilising different work shifts to minimise the potential effect on this crowded highway and, simultaneously, guarantee correct placement of the hydraulic concrete. The project, which required 30,000t of cement, directly employed more than 100 people.
Peru: The Peruvian division of Mexican cement company Cemex has received approval from the Ministry of Production for the environmental impact assessment (EIA) requested for the development of a cement grinding and packaging plant in Ventanilla, Callao.
Colombia: Cemex's Colombian business has reported its plans for 2016. The company currently constructs housing in the country, which complements its primary activity of cement production. It has constructed 6000 houses in Colombia to date and now plans to double its income in this segment with the construction of 15,000 additional houses in the near future.
Cemex has also set-up a network of hardware stores called Construrama, of which there are now 220. The company noted the challenge in managing its distribution chain as it now sells more than 4000 products to a variety of clients. The company also plans growth for its concrete, infrastructure, housing and market development divisions in public sector projects and structuring. According to Cemex, the company has formed an alliance with the national government and administrations of municipalities, departments, associations and public institutions to achieve this goal.
Europe: Cemex has completed the sale of its business operations in Austria and Hungary to Germany's Rohrdorfer Group for about Euro160m.
Cemex's Austrian operations, which comprise 24 aggregate quarries and 34 ready-mix plants, reported Euro219m in net sales in 2014. The operations in Hungary include five aggregate quarries and 34 ready-mix facilities and had net sales of some Euro42.7m in 2014.
Cemex hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, BNP Paribas and Morgan Stanley & Co International plc to act as financial advisors in this transaction. The proceeds from the sale will be used mainly to finance general corporate purposes and to pay off debt.
Mexico: Cemex's consolidated net sales reached US$3.7bn in the third quarter of 2015, an increase of 5% on a like-for-like basis for the ongoing operations and adjusting for currency fluctuations, versus the comparable period in 2014. The increase was due to higher prices in local currency terms in most operations, as well as improved volumes in the US and Asia.
Its operating earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) during the quarter reached US$677m, an increase of 5% on a like-for-like basis versus the same period in 2014. The increase was mainly due to higher contributions from Mexico, the US, as well as from the Northern Europe and Asia regions. Operating earnings before other expenses, net, in the third quarter, decreased by 8% to US$439m. Controlling interest net loss narrowed to US$44m from a loss of US$106m in the same period of 2014.
"Our results reflect the unprecedented strength of the US Dollar versus the currencies in most of our markets, which intensified during the quarter. Despite this, we had favourable operating results. Our quarterly sales and operating EBITDA increased by 5% on a like-for-like basis. While EBITDA margin was relatively flat during the quarter, year-to-date EBITDA margin was the highest since 2009. Our free cash flow after maintenance capital expenditure also increased by 25% during the quarter," said Fernando A Gonzalez, Chief Executive Officer. "We are pleased with the results so far of our 'Value-Before-Volume' strategy. Our year-to-date increase in consolidated prices, adjusted for the impact of our variable costs and freight rate increases, has offset slightly more than half of the effect of foreign-exchange fluctuations."
Panama: Cemex's Panamanian operations have been awarded the highest recognition in sustainable development and environmental management by the Panamanian Chamber of Construction (CAPAC). Cemex Panama earned this honour for its implementation of protection and conservation policies in the environments where it operates.
The award criteria included the company's environmental policies, energy and water efficiency, waste management and the handling of chemical substances; air pollution mitigation; environmental controls and records; environmental contingency plans; and reforestation plans.
Cemex Panama obtained this recognition thanks to such initiatives as its Technological Innovation Project based on P+L Systems, which resulted in energy savings of 32% at its cement plant; its Reduction of Water Consumption Project, which helped reduce its water consumption by over 35%; its waste management and waste-water treatment policies; its Reforestation Project, which will enable the recovery of 633,000m2 of forest by 2019.
"We are very honoured to receive this award, which recognises the integration of environmental management in our daily operations and processes," said Andres Jimenez, President of Cemex Panama. "Sustainability is an integral part of our business model and a core component of Cemex's future growth."
Puerto Rico: The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that Cemex de Puerto Rico will spend US$1.7m on pollution controls that will reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides. In addition, the company will pay a US$160,000 penalty for Clean Air Act violations.
"Nitrogen oxides emissions can lead to a number of serious health and environmental problems, including respiratory problems, heart disease and smog," said Judith A Enck, EPA regional administrator. "The EPA settlement protects children with asthma and other vulnerable populations from harmful air pollution by requiring that Cemex install state-of-the-art technology and take immediate steps to reduce pollutants."
The Cemex cement kiln system in Ponce has operated for over 20 years and is a major source of nitrogen oxide emissions. The settlement addresses modifications Cemex made to its cement plant without obtaining the proper permit, as required by the Clean Air Act. Businesses that produce large quantities of air pollution are required to obtain permits and install pollution control technology before making changes that would significantly increase emissions.
Following an EPA inspection, Cemex conducted a smokestack test at its Ponce facility and potential violations were discovered. In the settlement, Cemex will install control technology, which will reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides by approximately 1423t/yr.
Nicaragua: For the seventh year in a row Cemex has been awarded a national prize as a 'leading business' for its industrial safety and hygiene management procedures by Nicaragua's National Council for Work Safety and Hygiene at the Ministry of Labour.
This continued recognition is linked to its programmes that encourage workers to report poor behaviour or unsuitable conditions that could otherwise lead to accidents. Cemex Nicaragua is on the verge of reaching zero incidents through more than 14,000hr of training per year.