* CEO Zambrano says debt position "calm"
* U.S. sales volume growth rate to dip to 8 pct from 14 pct
* Could issue debt to lower costs, but doesn't "need to"
MONTERREY, March 21 Mexico's cement maker Cemex
expects sales growth in the United States to slow this year, the
firm's top executive said, adding that the company could place
debt if it could secure lower financing costs.
Cemex has been struggling to turn around its debt-laden
business since the U.S. housing crisis. U.S. sales have been
rising as the housing market slowly recovers.
Chief Executive Officer Lorenzo Zambrano said on Thursday
that U.S. sales volume growth would be 8 percent this year
compared with a 14 percent rise in 2012, due to higher taxes and
government spending cuts in the United States.
Cemex has been burdened with deep debt obligations for the
past three years. It was hurt by the 2008 U.S. housing meltdown
shortly after paying $16 billion to buy Australian peer Rinker.
"We are in a calm position, we have 34 months where we do
not have to make any payments," Zambrano said. He suggested the
company could look to issue new debt if it could get lower
interest rates. "But we do not need to do this," he said.
Cemex recently placed $600 million in debt that it said it
would use to pay down some of its other debts.
Cemex's Mexico traded shares dipped 0.39 percent
on Thursday. The stock hit its highest in about 3-1/2 years last
week, backed by growing optimism for the U.S. housing market.
The company wrapped up a refinancing package last year that
gave it much-needed room to push back looming debt payments for
up to four years.