* Demand for notes approached $5 billion before books closed
* Company recently wrapped up refinancing with lenders
* Shares jump to 20-month highs
(Rewrites first paragraph, adds details on notes)
MEXICO CITY, Oct 4 Mexican cement maker Cemex is
selling $1.5 billion in 10-year notes amid heavy demand from
investors on Thursday, marking its return to debt markets and
helping to send its shares to 20-month highs.
The stock also benefited from the Monterrey-based company's
first financial forecast since February 2009.
Demand for Cemex's notes approached $5 billion
before books closed, according to IFR. The
pricing is expected later on Thursday.
Fitch agency rated the notes "B+" with a stable outlook.
"Fitch expects Cemex's leverage to remain high through the
end of 2014," the agency wrote in a report. "A recovery of the
company's U.S. operations is crucial to generating free cash
flow in excess of $1 billion annually and lowering leverage."
Cemex said it expected third-quarter earnings before
interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to show a rise of
9 percent from a year earlier in dollar terms. It forecast a 2
percent decline in quarterly sales.
The company recently wrapped up a $7.2 billion refinancing
that gave it much-needed room to push back looming debt payments
for up to four years.
Cemex was swamped by the 2008 U.S. housing meltdown shortly
after paying out $16 billion to buy Australian peer Rinker. It
has been working its way out of deep debt obligations for the
past three years.
As part of the refinancing agreement with lenders, the
company, which has operations in more than 50 countries, swapped
debt and has committed to pay down $1 billion in March 2013. It
also revised some financial covenants.
Cemex plans to report full quarterly results later this
Shares of Cemex rose 4.5 percent to 11.43 pesos in Mexico,
while its New York-traded stock gained 5.0 percent to
Cemex is close to listing its Cemex Latam Holdings unit in
Colombia, a deal that could bring in $750 million to $1 billion
to help it meet a debt payment next March.
(Reporting By Cyntia Barrera, Additional reporting by Gabriela
Lopez and Michael O'Boyle; Editing by John Wallace, Leslie
Gevirtz and Lisa Von Ahn)