MEXICO CITY--Mexican cement and building materials company Cemex SAB (CX, CEMEX.MX) narrowed its net loss in the third quarter on higher sales and operating profits, although gains were limited by weakness in the company's home market, Mexico.
Cemex, of Monterrey, reported a net loss of $155 million, compared with a loss of $203 million in the third quarter of 2012 as financial expenses and taxes exceeded operating profit.
Sales rose 3% from a year before to $4 billion, on higher prices and increased sales volume in markets such as the U.S., Europe, Asia and South America. Operating cash flow measured by earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or Ebitda, rose 2% to $747 million.
The results were slightly below the median expectations of four equities analysts consulted by Dow Jones Newswires, who had predicted Ebitda of $758 million on sales of $4.1 billion, and a net loss of $101 million.
Cemex's global cement and aggregates sales by volume were flat at 17.1 million metric tons and 44.1 million metric tons, respectively, while ready-mix concrete volumes edged up 1% to 14.7 million cubic meters.
While U.S. cement sales volume rose 7%, in Mexico cement volumes fell 13%, affected by delays in government infrastructure spending and adverse weather conditions across much of the country.
Mexico was hit in September by two major storms that damaged dozens of bridges and highways and affected thousands of homes. The Mexican government plans to invest several billions of dollars in reconstruction efforts, including the use of money in its disaster fund and budget reallocations for 2014.
Cemex said it was encouraged by future prospects for Mexico "given the investment plans and other initiatives recently announced by the federal government to support the infrastructure and housing sectors."
The company's shares opened 0.7% higher on the Mexican stock exchange at 13.80 pesos ($1.05).