About Us - Press Release - CEMEX's first quarter 2005 sales increase 43%; operating income grows 12%
April 22, 2005
CEMEX, S.A. de C.V. (NYSE: CX) announced today that its consolidated net sales for the first quarter of 2005 were US$2.6 billion, 43% higher than in the same period of 2004.
Consolidated results for first quarter 2005 include one-month results of RMC ending March 31, 2005. Results for first quarter 2004 do not include results of RMC.
Excluding the effect of the consolidation of RMC, net sales grew 8% to US$1,956 million. During the quarter, all of our pre-RMC markets experienced increased sales, with the exception of Mexico.
Consolidated cement and ready mix volumes continue to increase throughout most of our markets, fueled mainly by infrastructure spending and residential building. Our consolidated cement volume increased 5% while consolidated ready-mix volume grew 74% in the first quarter to 16 million metric tons and 9.8 million cubic meters, respectively. Our consolidated aggregates volume increased 130% in first quarter 2005, reaching 19.9 million metric tons.
Free cash flow for the quarter increased 2% versus the same quarter a year ago, reaching US$296 million. EBITDA (operating income plus depreciation and amortization) grew 14% to US$633 million. Excluding the effect of the consolidation of RMC, EBITDA for the quarter was US$583 million, 5% higher than a year ago.
Operating income for the quarter was US$440 million, up 12% over the same period of 2004. Excluding the effect of RMC, operating income grew 6% to US$417 million. This improvement resulted primarily from higher domestic cement volumes in most of the markets in our portfolio, despite fewer business days in the quarter. Additionally our results benefited from continuing attractive supply-demand dynamics.
Hector Medina, Executive Vice President of Planning and Finance, said: "This was a very important quarter for the development of CEMEX. On March 1, we took a significant strategic step by completing the acquisition of RMC. This acquisition, and its integration into CEMEX, will provide us with greater global reach and stronger positions across the value chain, both of which will enable us to compete more effectively and will enhance our financial strength to continue to grow profitably throughout the business cycle".
"The integration process is moving smoothly and all operating teams are demonstrating full commitment towards the deployment of the CEMEX business model throughout the organization. We strongly believe that the implementation of the CEMEX business model will improve the effectiveness and the turnaround time required to complete the integration process".
Excluding the effect of consolidation of RMC, selling, general, and administrative expenses (SG&A) as percentage of net sales increased 0.26 percentage points versus first quarter of 2004. Higher worldwide energy costs have increased transportation costs throughout our markets.
Majority net income rose 43% in the first quarter of 2005, reaching US$444 million versus US$311 million a year ago. Excluding the effect of the consolidation of RMC, majority net income grew 35% to US$421 million. This increase is due to strong consolidated operating performance and to gains resulting from our derivative positions.
Net debt at the end of the quarter was US$10,435 million, 87% higher than that at the end of 2004. The increase in net debt reflects the acquisition of the remaining share capital of RMC- executed in March 2005 - and the assumption of RMC's debt on the acquisition day. The net-debt-to-EBITDA ratio increased to 3.2 times from 2.2 times at the end of 2004, while interest coverage remained unchanged at 6.8 times versus the previous quarter.
On March 31, 2005, CEMEX announced that it completed the sale of certain CEMEX assets in the Great Lakes region of the U.S. to Votorantim Participacoes S.A. Votorantim acquired the Charlevoix and Dixon-Marquette cement plants.
The following summary of our results in our major markets do not include the effect of the consolidation of RMC for first quarter 2005.
Our Mexican operations reported net sales of US$682 million, 2% lower than in the first quarter 2004, and EBITDA of US$280 million, an decrease of 11%. Domestic cement sales volumes for the quarter decreased 7%, while ready-mix volumes grew 12%. Cement demand was affected by adverse weather - particularly during the first two months of the year - and fewer business days as a result of the earlier occurrence of religious holidays, which last year took place during the second quarter. Adjusting for the fewer business days this quarter, cement volumes would have decreased 2% versus first quarter 2004. The main driver of cement demand in Mexico during the first quarter was the residential sector.
In The United States, net sales for the quarter were US$491 million, 22% higher, while EBITDA reached US$107 million, an increase of 44%. Domestic cement volume remained flat, while ready-mix sales volumes for the quarter increased 6%. Construction activity remains strong, with month-over-month increases in construction spending since May 2003. Cement and ready-mix sales continue to be driven by increased spending in infrastructure - particularly in streets and highways - and residential construction. However, unfavorable weather conditions during the quarter, especially in the western United States, have affected cement demand.
Our operations in Spain reported net sales of US$335 million in the first quarter of 2005, up 15% from the year-earlier period. EBITDA reached US$112 million, representing an increase of 23%. Domestic cement sales volumes grew 4% while ready-mix volumes increased 5%, compared to the same quarter of 2004. The residential sector continues as one of the main drivers of demand, with increased housing starts. Public-works spending is also growing and represents an important component of cement consumption; the sector's primary catalyst continues to be Spain's infrastructure plan.
CEMEX is a growing global building solutions company that provides products of consistently high quality and reliable service to customers and communities in more than 50 countries throughout the world. The company improves the well-being of those it serves through its relentless focus on continuous improvement and efforts to promote a sustainable future. For more information, visit www.cemex.com.