Cemex 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 2018 to $3.5 billion, and increased 6 percent for the full-year 2018 to $14.4 billion versus the comparable periods in 2017. Operating EBITDA, also on a like-to-like basis, remained flat during the fourth quarter of 2018 at $604 million and increased by 1 percent for the full year to $2.6 billion versus 2017.
The increase in quarterly consolidated net sales on a like-to-like basis was due to higher prices of the company’s products, in local currency terms in all of its regions, as well as higher volumes mainly in the ready-mix and aggregates businesses in Mexico and the U.S.
“We are pleased with our 6 percent top-line growth during 2018, supported by higher consolidated volumes and prices in our three core products. Operating EBITDA grew by 1 percent on a like-to-like basis in this period,” said Fernando A. Gonzalez, chief executive officer of Cemex.
Gonzalez continued, “During 2018, we generated more than $900 million in free cash flow after maintenance capex, with a strong EBITDA-to-free-cash-flow conversion rate, which allowed us to reduce our total debt by 8 percent, or close to $1 billion. We also made significant advances under our ‘A Stronger Cemex’ plan during the second half of last year and are on track to achieve our 2019 and 2020 targets under this program.”
Net sales in operations in Mexico, on a like-to-like basis, increased 5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018 to $776 million. Operating EBITDA, on a like-to-like basis remained flat at $265 million in the quarter, versus the prior-year period.
Cemex’s operations in the United States reported net sales of $905 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, an increase of 8 percent on a like-to-like basis from the same period in 2017. Operating EBITDA increased by 6 percent on a like-to-like basis to US$168 million versus prior-year period.
Net sales in operations in South, Central America and the Caribbean were $425 million during the fourth quarter of 2018, a decline of 6 percent on a like-to-like basis over the same period of 2017. Operating EBITDA decreased by 8 percent on a like-to-like basis to $93 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, from $105 million in the prior-year period.