Cemex sees quarterly net profit jump; eyes price hikes for inflation

A worker walks past outside the main entrance from a concrete plant of Mexican cement maker CEMEX, in Monterrey, Mexico June 8, 2021. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

MEXICO CITY, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Cemex's (CEMEXCPO.MX) net profit nearly tripled on lower costs and taxesin the fourth quarter, the Mexican cement maker said on Thursday, as it announced plans to raise prices in line with inflation in 2022.

Net profit reached $195 million, up about 179% from the year-ago period, while revenues rose to $3.62 billion from $3.5 billion a year earlier.

Cemex said it expected operating 2022 Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) to increase in the single digits, and for cement prices to keep rising.

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Last year, cement prices grew 5%, the biggest jump since 2016, Cemex executives said in an online presentation on the results.

Chief Financial Officer Maher Al-Haffar said the company expected inflation to fluctuate this year.

Cemex will invest $900 million on growth starting this year, Chief Executive Fernando Gonzalez said, without elaborating.

The company has a 50% alternative fuel substitution target by 2030, Gonzalez added, up from almost 30% in 2021. It saved $200 million by using alternative fuels in 2021.

Cemex said last year it was investing in renewable energy and alternative fuels to meet its climate goals.

The company's carbon dioxide emissions declined 4.4 percentage points in 2021, which it said marked the lowest annual level on Cemex's record.

Cemex recently announced progress toward using solar energy to produce clinker, a limestone and clay mix, and said it would use a sustainable waste management plant to power some operations in Mexico. read more

Cemex shares fell more than 4% on Thursday.

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Reporting by Nathan Gomes in Bengaluru, Anthony Esposito and Valentine Hilaire; editing by Mark Porter, Alexandra Hudson and Richard Chang

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