By Elinor Comlay
MEXICO CITY Feb 6 Mexico's Cemex, one of the
world's biggest cement companies, reported a smaller
fourth-quarter loss on Thursday as it hiked prices and cement
sales picked up in its foreign markets.
The Monterrey-based company said its loss
narrowed to $255 million from $494 million in the year-earlier
quarter, although it was wider than the $119 million loss
analysts surveyed by Reuters expected, due to higher expenses.
Cemex shares fell 0.84 percent to 16.62 pesos in morning
trading, while Mexico's IPC stock index was up 0.29
Net sales rose by 4 percent to $3.9 billion, helped by
higher prices and a pickup in cement volumes sold in the United
States and Europe, although net sales in Mexico, which make up
about one-fifth of the company's total sales, dipped 6 percent
from the year-earlier quarter.
Infrastructure spending in Mexico last year was slow to get
under way after a new government took office, but Cemex said in
its statement that infrastructure spending increased in the
second half of the year.
Mexican cement volumes have also been affected by the debt
default of the country's three biggest homebuilders.
"The formal residential sector still reflects high home
inventories and financing constraints," the company said in its
Cemex said operating core profit, or earnings before
interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, was up 4 percent
at $642 million.