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MEXICO CITY, Feb 7 (Reuters) – Mexican cement producer Cemex on Thursday reported a loss for the fourth-quarter, missing analyst expectations’ for a profit and sending shares lower.

Monterrey-based Cemex, one of the world’s largest cement producers, reported a net loss of $37 million for the quarter, when analysts had expected a profit of $136 million, according to a Reuters poll.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) slipped 3 percent in the quarter.

Share in Cemex fell almost 2 percent after the report to 9.99 pesos per share.

Revenue rose 4 percent in the quarter, helped by higher prices and volume, and was slightly lower than expected in the poll.

Cemex said that it would increase investments in maintenance and strategic assets for 2019 to $850 million. It said it expects consolidated cement volumes to grow up to 2 percent, and concrete to grow between 3 percent and 5 percent.

Global demand for cement is seen rising 1.5 percent this year, mainly due to higher demand in China, which consumes more than half of the world’s cement.

Cemex said in July that it would return cash to shareholders through an annual cash dividend, starting with $150 million in 2019.

The company has been cutting costs and selling assets to help it meet investment grade metrics faster. (Reporting by Noe Torres in Mexico City and Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Susan Thomas)

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