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Colombia drags down CEMEX in Latin America

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World Cement,

Business in Latin America remained challenging, according to CEMEX, as it reported a 5% fall in consolidated net sales in 4Q17 from its CEMEX Latam Holdings subsidiary. Earnings were down 15% over the quarter and 27% over the full year, as lower volumes and prices in Colombia hit the company’s bottom line.

“Cement price levels in Colombia continued well below those of last year,” said Jaime Muguiro, CEO of CEMEX Latam Holdings, while “cement consumption in Colombia and Panama remained subdued.”

Net sales in Colombia fell 12% to US$134 million, hit by weak demand from industrial and commercial projects, as well as from high and middle-income housing developments.

In Panama net sales fell 4% to US$54 million. In Costa Rica, however, the company reported better results, as net sales rose 10% to US$35 million, while business across its remaining geographies – including Nicaragua, El Salvadore, Guatemala, and Brazil – was also positive with sales up 6%, although earnings were down 2%.

Despite this, prices in Colombia had begun to show signs of recovery in 4Q17, rising 2% on the previous quarter. CEMEX is currently pushing a ‘value over volume’ strategy to try to push up prices in the country.

“Despite the headwinds we faced in 2017 in our operations, I am optimistic about the recent and encouraging development with regards our prices in Colombia and our volumes in Costa Rica, which should allow us to continue with our Value Before Volume strategy in these countries, and which should impact positively our results in the upcoming quarters” said Muguiro.

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Cemex news Cement news 2018