Cemex, S.A.B. de C.V. announced that, on a like-to-like basis for the ongoing operations and adjusting for currency fluctuations, consolidated net sales increased by 4 percent during the fourth quarter of 2017 to $3.4 billion, and increased 3 percent for the full-year 2017 to $13.7 billion versus the comparable periods in 2016. Operating EBITDA on a like-to-like basis decreased by 7 percent during the fourth quarter of 2017 to $625 million and decreased by 6 percent for the full year to $2.6 billion versus 2016.
Fernando A. Gonzalez, chief executive officer of Cemex, said, “Although 2017 was a challenging year, our two largest markets, Mexico and the United States, performed well with like-to-like increases in their EBITDA. We also generated free cash flow after maintenance capex of close to $1.3 billion, with a 50 percent EBITDA-to-free-cash-flow conversion rate and which, together with our asset-divestment initiatives, resulted in pro-forma debt reduction of close to $2.1 billion during the year.
“We had important headwinds during the year: underperformance in Colombia, Egypt and the Philippines as well as increased energy costs, mainly in Mexico. As we have done in the past, we focused on the variables we control to dampen these headwinds and we continued to deliver solid results.”
During the fourth quarter of 2017, controlling interest net loss was $105 million, versus an income of $214 million in the same period last year. Controlling interest net income for the full year improved to $806 million from $750 million in 2016, the highest net income generation since 2007.
Total debt plus perpetual notes decreased by $209 million during the quarter. During 2017, total debt plus perpetual notes was reduced by approximately $1.7 billion, which represents a 13 percent reduction from the debt level as of the end of 2016 and a 26 percent reduction compared to the end of 2015. On a pro-forma basis, including the payment of the 4.75 percent senior secured notes due 2022 outstanding aggregate principal amount, made on January 2018, total debt plus perpetual notes was reduced by $2.1 billion during 2017.
Net sales in operations in Mexico increased 6 percent on a like-to-like basis in the fourth quarter of 2017 to $781 million, compared with $701 million in the fourth quarter of 2016. Operating EBITDA increased by 8 percent on a like-to-like basis to $277 million versus the same period of last year.
Cemex’s operations in the United States reported net sales of $838 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, an increase of 4 percent on a like-to-like basis from the same period in 2016. Operating EBITDA decreased by 5 percent on a like-to-like basis to $158 million in the quarter, versus $180 million in the same quarter of 2016.
Cemex’s operations in South, Central America and the Caribbean reported net sales of $452 million during the fourth quarter of 2017, representing a decrease of 3 percent on a like-to-like basis over the same period of 2016. Operating EBITDA decreased by 10 percent on a like-to-like basis to $105 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, from $108 million in the same quarter of 2016.