About Us - Press Release - CEMEX'S majority net income grows 1% in first quarter 2002; key financial ratios continue to improve
April 22, 2002
CEMEX, S.A. de C.V. (NYSE: CX) announced today that its net majority earnings for first quarter 2002 increased 1% versus the same quarter of 2001, to US$280 million (US$0.96 per ADS). In real peso terms, net majority earnings declined 3% to MXP2.5 billion (MXP1.73 per CPO).
First quarter net sales of US$1.6 billion declined 1% in dollar terms versus first quarter 2001. Despite higher volumes in Spain and stable shipments in the United States, net sales were affected by lower volumes in some of the company's markets as a result of religious holidays occurring during the first quarter, as opposed to 2001 when they occurred in the second quarter. In real peso terms, net sales decreased 5%, to MXP14.2 billion.
EBITDA (operating profit plus depreciation and amortization) for the quarter was US$473 million, declining 11% in dollar terms year over year. While EBITDA margins from cement and ready-mix operations remained flat, consolidated EBITDA margin was reduced to 30.1% from 33.7% a year ago, mainly due to a change in the product and country mix, as well as higher SG&A expenses attributable to investments to strengthen the company's IT and commercial & distribution networks. In real peso terms, EBITDA, at MXP4.3 billion, was 15% lower.
Héctor Medina, Executive Vice President of Planning and Finance, said: "Even amid a difficult economic environment in which net sales were up by only one percent, we were able to deliver cash earnings of 311 million dollars, versus 322 million dollars a year ago, and earnings growth of one percent. Because of our ability to perform in a recessionary economic downturn that affected two of our most important markets, we believe that, once we emerge from the cycle, we will continue to strengthen CEMEX's free cash flow generation."
Key financial ratios continued to improve. Interest plus preferred dividend coverage (EBITDA before operating lease payments and cost restatements for inflation divided by interest expense plus preferred dividend for the last twelve months) increased to 4.91 times for the latest twelve months, versus 3.96 times a year ago.
Additionally, financial leverage (net debt plus preferred equity to trailing twelve-month EBITDA) decreased to 2.74 times compared to 2.94 times for the same period in 2001.
First quarter operating income decreased 18% in dollar terms to US$320 million, mainly due to the abovementioned increase in SG&A expenses. In real peso terms, operating income fell 21% to MXP2.9 billion.
First quarter cash earnings were US$311 million (US$1.06 per ADS), and despite the larger reduction in EBITDA, came in only 3% lower in dollar terms versus first quarter 2001, due to a 41% reduction in financial expense. In real peso terms, cash earnings were reduced by 8%, standing at MXP2.8 billion (MXP1.92 per CPO).
Consolidated free cash flow for the first quarter was US$84 million, down from US$139 million in the same period of 2001, primarily due to higher working capital investments during the quarter.
On a worldwide basis, CEMEX's consolidated cement sales volume for the first quarter was 14.1 million metric tons, 1% higher compared to first quarter 2001, while ready-mix volumes, at 4.0 million cubic meters, were 10% lower.
CEMEX's Mexican operations reported net sales of US$621 million in the first quarter, a 2% decline. Domestic cement sales volume decreased slightly less than 6%, as demand in the formal sector continues to be affected by the economic slowdown. The housing and self-construction sectors grew at a slow pace. Four less shipping days during the quarter, compared to the same year-ago period, also impacted sales. However, ready-mix volumes grew 2% driven by municipal works spending.
In the United States, CEMEX's domestic cement sales volume remained flat while ready-mix rose 4%. However, net sales were decreased 7% to US$384 million, partially as a result of the divestiture of the aggregates business during the fourth quarter of 2001 and lower sales in other non-core businesses. Residential construction growth remained stable, while industrial and commercial building declined. The public works sector, in particular highway construction, continues to be the strongest source of cement demand in the U.S.
In Spain, the company's net sales grew 2%, to US$201 million. Domestic cement and ready-mix volumes grew 2% and 7%, respectively, over first quarter 2001. The public works sector was the main driver of cement demand during the quarter.
CEMEX's Venezuelan operations reported a 9% decrease in domestic cement volume. Public spending on infrastructure was lower during the quarter, and the self-construction sector weakened due to lower real levels of disposable income.
CEMEX Colombia's domestic cement volume was 13% lower compared to first quarter 2001, and ready-mix volume declined 31%. Higher unemployment and adverse political climate drove down demand in the self-construction sector; however, low-income housing construction and the residential sector showed a slight increase.
CEMEX Philippines' first quarter domestic cement volume increased 30% year-over-year, mainly due to market share gains made by CEMEX, as cement imports into the Philippines fell 75% versus a year ago.
CEMEX Egypt recorded a 17% increase in domestic cement volumes compared to first quarter 2001, driven by increased sales in Lower Egypt and a successful implementation of a customer loyalty program in Upper Egypt.
CEMEX is a leading global producer and marketer of cement and ready-mix products, with operations concentrated in the world's most dynamic cement markets across four continents. CEMEX combines a deep knowledge of the local markets with its global network and information technology systems to provide world-class products and services to its customers, from individual homebuilders to large industrial contractors. For more information, visit www.cemex.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements and information that are necessarily subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Many factors could cause the actual results, performance or achievements of CEMEX to be materially different from those expressed or implied in this release, including, among others, changes in general economic, political, governmental and business conditions globally and in the countries in which CEMEX does business, changes in interest rates, changes in inflation rates, changes in exchange rates, the level of construction generally, changes in cement demand and prices, changes in raw material and energy prices, changes in business strategy and various other factors. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described herein.
EBITDA is defined as operating income plus depreciation and amortization. Free cash flow is defined as EBITDA minus net interest expense, capital expenditures, increase or decrease in working capital, cash taxes, preferred equity dividend payments, employee profit-sharing payments paid in cash, U.S. dumping charges paid in cash and other cash items. Net debt is defined as total on balance sheet debt plus preferred equity and capital securities minus cash and cash equivalents. Cash earnings is defined as EBITDA minus net financial expenses, cash taxes (including statutory profit sharing), income attributable to minority interest (including preferred dividends) and other cash expenses. All of these items are presented under Mexican generally accepted accounting principles.