Cemex sales down for 2010

By Helen Wright03 February 2011

Cemex reported a -3% drop in net sales in 2010 to US$ 14.1 billion, while gross profit fell -8% to US$ 3.9 billion.

The cement producer said lower sales from the US and Europe had driven the decline, but this dynamic was offset in the fourth quarter by growth in other markets, particularly in Mexico.

The company said fourth quarter net sales had increased +1% to US$ 3.5 billion, while pre-tax profit fell -2% to US$ 893 million.

Executive vice president of planning and finance Fernando Gonzalez said the environment for building materials demand in Cemex's key markets remained "challenging".

"We remain focused in rightsizing our business as necessary, reducing our debt and proactively addressing our refinancing needs. The actions we have taken to adapt to market conditions have strengthened our business and better position us to benefit from the potential recovery in some of our key markets in 2011," Mr Gonzales said.

Cemex said the infrastructure and residential sectors were the main drivers of demand in most of its markets.

Net sales in Cemex's Mexican operations showed the highest growth in the fourth quarter, with a +25% increase to US$ 902 million. And the company reported +7% net sales growth to US$ 366 million in its South and Central American operations in the final three months of 2010.

Fourth-quarter net sales in Africa and the Middle East were also up +1% at US$ 264 million compared to the same quarter of 2009, while operations in Asia reported a +2% increase in net sales, to US$125 million against the prior year period.

However, this growth was offset by Cemex's performance in Europe, where net sales for the quarter decreased -15% to US$ 1.1 billion, compared with US$ 1.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2009

Meanwhile, Cemex's US operations reported a -5% decrease in net sales to US$ 572 million.

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