Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Perspective on Mexican cement giant CEMEX

Cemex: Cracked, But Still Sturdy -- The Fool

Mexico's Cemex (NYSE: CX) was once very nearly the emerging star of the international world of cement. But the company, recently on the prowl for new financing, has now discovered that the world has changed a lot in just the past few years.

Cemex is the world's third largest cement company, behind France's LaFarge (OTC : LARGY. PK) and Holcim (OTC: HCMLY. PK). After a lengthy search for cash infusions abroad, it became clear that Cemex would have had to fork over an interest rate of between 15% and 20%, according to some reports, to sell its bonds last week. It'll therefore return to banks for a fresh supply of pesos.

Unfortunately, Cemex is paying penance for a number of recent acquisitions. Its latest purchase was last year's $15.3 billion devouring of Australia's Rinker Materials. The deal gave the company exposure to markets in such places as the United States, the U.K., and Spain -- just in time to see housing and construction slowdowns put a big crimp on those nation's economies.

In the wake of the deal, Cemex's net debt reached $17.8 million, or five times its most recent years' earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA). Partly as a result, rating agencies Fitch and Standard & Poor's have reduced Cemex's bonds to a below-investment-grade BB+.

Click here to access the full article from the Motley Fool