About Us - Press Release - CEMEX provides guidance for the first quarter of 2004
March 16, 2004
CEMEX, S.A. de C.V. (NYSE: CX) announced today that it expects EBITDA for the quarter ending March 31, 2004 of about US$535 million, an increase of 19% versus the year earlier period, while operating income is expected at about US$380 million. The increase in EBITDA and operating income is due to stronger volumes in our major markets, and to lower operating costs and administrative expenses achieved as a result of recent investments and expense containment efforts.
For the first quarter, CEMEX expects to achieve revenue of more than US$1.7 billion, and free cash flow of close to US$240 million.
Rodrigo Treviño, Chief Financial Officer, said: “The improved economic climate in our major markets, and the significant contribution to our operating results from our cost reduction efforts undertaken last year, puts us on track to a strong first quarter performance, and makes us increasingly confident about our ability to meet our full-year guidance. Furthermore, as we use free cash flow to reduce net debt, our capital structure strengthening trend continues. This is consistent with our stated preference towards deleveraging in the near-term until attractive investment opportunities arise. ”
For the first quarter, CEMEX Mexico’s domestic gray cement volume is expected to grow by about 6% versus the same quarter a year ago. The main drivers of demand year-to-date have been investment in municipal and federal roads and highways, investment in other infrastructure projects, and low-income housing construction, with the self-construction sector remaining a stable source of demand.
Cement sales volumes for CEMEX’s operations in the United States are expected to increase 6% in the first quarter versus the same quarter of last year. The acquisition of the Dixon-Marquette Cement plant, which began to be consolidated in the fourth quarter of 2003, is estimated to account for about 2 percentage points of the 6% increase expected for the quarter. The main drivers of demand during the quarter have been residential construction and public works. Construction in the industrial and commercial sectors is now stable compared to last year, when the sector suffered from high vacancy rates and low capital expenditures.
Cement sales volumes for CEMEX’s operations in Spain are expected to remain flat versus the first quarter of last year. The main drivers of cement demand continue to be a strong residential sector, fueled by a favorable interest rate environment, and a healthy public sector.
Guidance numbers are calculated on the basis of market close exchange rates as of March 16, 2004.
CEMEX is a leading global producer and marketer of cement and ready-mix products, with operations primarily concentrated in the world’s most dynamic cement markets across four continents. CEMEX combines a deep knowledge of the local markets with its global network and information technology systems to provide world-class products and services to its customers, from individual homebuilders to large industrial contractors. For more information, visit www.cemex.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements and information that are necessarily subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Many factors could cause the actual results, performance or achievements of CEMEX to be materially different from those expressed or implied in this release, including, among others, changes in general economic, political, governmental and business conditions globally and in the countries in which CEMEX does business, changes in interest rates, changes in inflation rates, changes in exchange rates, the level of construction generally, changes in cement demand and prices, changes in raw material and energy prices, changes in business strategy and various other factors. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described herein. CEMEX assumes no obligation to update or correct the information contained in this press release.
EBITDA is defined as operating income plus depreciation and amortization. Free Cash Flow is defined as EBITDA minus net interest expense, capital expenditures, change in working capital, taxes paid, dividends on preferred equity and other cash items. Net debt is defined as total debt plus equity obligations minus cash and cash equivalents. All of the above items are presented under generally accepted accounting principles in Mexico. EBITDA and Free Cash Flow (as defined above) are presented herein because CEMEX believes that they are widely accepted as financial indicators of CEMEX’s ability to internally fund capital expenditures and service or incur debt. EBITDA and Free Cash Flow should not be considered as indicators of CEMEX’s financial performance, as alternatives to cash flow, as measures of liquidity or as being comparable to other similarly titled measures of other companies.