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April 25 (Reuters) - Mexican cement producer Cemex SAB de CV said on Thursday that it nearly doubled its profit during the first quarter, but the results fell short of analysts’ expectations, sending Cemex shares down.
The company’s performance was hurt by lower volumes in Mexico and the United States. Sales in Mexico fell 8 percent to $706 million, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) declined 14 percent to $255 million during the first quarter that ended March, the company said.
U.S. sales rose 3 percent to $878 million but EBITDA fell 1 percent to $130 million.
Shares of Cemex fell more than 3.5 percent in afternoon trading, hitting their lowest level in more than four weeks.
Nevertheless, the company improved pricing in all regions during the quarter, Chief Executive Fernando Gonzalez said in a statement.
“We are pleased with the 1 percent top-line growth we achieved during the first quarter, despite important volume declines in our two most important markets: Mexico and the U.S.,” he said.
Monterrey-based Cemex, which operates in more than 50 countries, has been waging a campaign to cut costs and divest to regain its investment-grade rating.
In February, the company said it would sell some of its European facilities and businesses to German building company Schwenk for about $385 million.
Net profit rose to $39 million in the quarter, from $20 million a year earlier. Analysts on average had expected net profit to more than double to $67 million, according to a Reuters poll.
Total net sales increased 1 percent to $3.2 billion.
Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Julia Love and Noe Torres in Mexico City; Editing by Bill Trott and Leslie Adler