Displaying items by tag: Mexico
Mexico: Cemex has retained a 9.5% stake in Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua (GCC) following a sale of some of shares in the Mexican cement producer. Cemex said that the underwriters did not exercise their over-allotment option to acquire shares in GCC. Originally Cemex said in late 2016 that it intended to sell its full 23% minority stake in GCC.
Mexico: Fives has supplied a Fives FCB Horomill for the new production line at Cementos Moctezuma’s Apazapan plant in Veracruz. The cement producer signed the acceptance certificate in mid-February 2017. The FCB Horomill 3800, supplied to fit the raw meal-grinding workshop, is part of the new plant that was inaugurated by Cementos Moctezuma in January 2017.
US: The US Customs and Border Protection plans to start awarding contracts by mid-April 2017 for a proposed border wall with Mexico. The agency says it will request bids on or around 6 March 2017 and that companies would have to submit ‘concept papers’ to design and build prototypes by 10 March 2017, according to the Associated Press. Finalists must then submit offers with their proposed costs by 24 March 2017. No details on where construction will start or how much it will be cost have been released.
Estimates for the cost of a 2000-mile border wall vary significantly. The Government Accountability Office estimates it would cost on average US$6.5m/mile for a pedestrian fence and US$1.8m/mile for vehicle barriers. However, an internal Homeland Security Department report prepared for department secretary John Kelly places the bill at about US$21m according to an anonymous source quoted by the Associated Press. It proposes that existing barriers built during the George W Bush administration be extended first in stages.
The cost of the wall will depend on the height, materials and other specifications of the project. Granite Construction, Vulcan Materials and Martin Marietta Materials are all likely to be potential bidders and Mexico’s Cemex is also likely to benefit from any increase in demand for construction materials in the region.
Mexico: Elementia’s cement division’s sales revenue in Mexico rose by 30% year-on-year to US$155m in 2016 from US$119m in 2015. Its earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) grew by 39% to US$65.9m from US$47.3m. It attributed the result to increased prices and a higher capacity utilisation rate.
The cement producer noted that its 1.5Mt/yr upgrade to its Tula cement plant is scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2017. The company also competed its acquisition of a 55% stake in US company Giant in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Mexico/Qatar: Fives has released information on cement plant projects in Mexico and Qatar. It commissioned a second FCB Horomill unit on 31 January 2017 at the cement grinding plant of Cementos Fortaleza, as part of the new 3300t/day complete line under construction at the Tula cement plant in Hidalgo. The first unit was commissioned in early December 2016.
Fives FCB was awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract from Cementos Fortaleza in mid-2015 for the design, supply, erection and commissioning of the cement production line. It includes a burning line using a FCB Kiln, FCB Zero-NOx Precalciner, FCB Preheater and Pillard Novaflam burner; raw meal and cement grinding plants using FCB Horomill and associated FCB TSV™ Classifiers; and a petcoke grinding plant using a FCB B-mill and associated FCB TSV Classifier. The FCB Horomill raw meal grinding plant and FCB Kiln are scheduled for commissioned in the second quarter of 2017.
In Qatar, Fives commissioned a cement milling unit on 6 February 2017 for Qatar National Cement Co.'s fifth production line in Umm Bab. This follows the commissioning of another mill at the site on 25 January 2017.
The mills are part of a 5000t/day production line that Fives is building for the client covering raw material preparation to cement despatch. The equipment ordered includes one 6400 kW FCB B‑mill with a FCB TSV7500 Classifier for the raw meal grinding plant, one five-stage FCB Preheater and a FCB Zero-NOx Precalciner, along with a FCB Kiln for the burning line, two TGT process filters and two 4200 KW FCB B‑mills with their FCB TSV4000 Classifiers for the cement grinding plant.
Mexico: Cemex is selling a 15.6% stake in Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua (GCC). If all 51,750,000 shares of GCC are sold the cement producer will raise around US$240m in revenue before expenses. Following the sale Cemex will retain a 7.4% direct interest in GCC.
Mexico: Cemex has grown its profit in 2016, reporting that its operating earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) has risen by 6% year-on-year to US$2.75bn from US$2.59bn in 2015. On a like-for-like basis adjusted for investments, divestments and currency fluctuations it rose by 15%. Its net sales fell by 3% to US$13.4bn from US$13.8bn, although on a like-for-like basis they rose by 4%. Sales volumes of cement remained stable at 66.7Mt. The company hailed a 10-year high in net income for 2016 and said that sales had increased on a like-for-like basis in the fourth quarter due to higher prices and higher volumes in Mexico, the UK and Germany.
“2016 was a very good year for Cemex. Despite continued volatility and uncertainty in the markets, we were able to deliver strong underlying operational and financial results by remaining focused on the variables that we control,” said Fernando A Gonzalez, chief executive officer of Cemex.
By region Cemex saw its net sales rise in both real-terms and on a like-for-like basis to US$2.86bn from US$2.84bn. It said that cement volume growth during the quarter and full year 2016 was mainly driven by the industrial and commercial, formal housing and self-construction sectors. In the US net sales remained static at US$3.67bn but they rose on a like-for-like basis. The company said that construction spending for the cement-intensive segments in the industrial and commercial sector grew by 1% in 2016, reflecting growth in the lodging and office segments, offsetting a decline in energy, agriculture and manufacturing. It also noted growth in the infrastructure spending in the last quarter of 2016 following the US presidential election.
In South and Central America and the Caribbean net sales fell by 9% to US$1.73bn from US$1.89bn. Cemex noted a flat market for cement sales volumes in Colombia in 2016 and high competition in a ‘soft demand’ market. In Europe net sales fell by 5% to US$3.3bn from US$3.43bn. Here, cement sales volumes fell in Spain and Poland through the year. However, sales volumes rose by 7% in the UK due in part to higher sales of blended cement that resulted from fly ash scarcity. Sales volumes in Germany remained flat in 2016 but the market picked up in the second half of the year supported by the residential sector. Finally, the group’s Asia, Middle East and Africa division reported that its net sales fell by 7% to US$1.54bn for US$1.65bn with a significant dip of 14% in sales volumes of cement in the fourth quarter of the year although volume remained flat in the year as a whole. The Philippines suffered from poor weather towards the end of the year although Cemex noted that cement demand weakened in the second half of the year in conjunction with the transition to a new government. In Egypt, government infrastructure spending drove cement demand.
Mexico: Cementos Moctezuma has completed its second production line at its Apazapan plant near Veracruz. The unit now has a cement production capacity of 2.75Mt/yr following an investment of over US$150m. Miguel Ángel Yunes Linares, Constitutional Governor of Veracruz, Efraín González Flores, Municipal Constitutional President of the Municipality of Apazapan, Fabrizio Donegà, General Manager of Moctezuma Corporation and others attended a ceremony to mark the operational start-up of the new line in late January 2017. Following the expansion, the cement producer has a production capacity of 8Mt/yr in the country.
Mexico: Cemex has said that it will start selling its 23% minority stake in Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua. The cement producer previously announced its intent to sell its stake but it sought permissions from the regulators first. It intends to sell its shares via a public offering authorised by the Comisión Nacional Bancaria y de Valores and conducted through the Mexican Stock Exchange. It will also run a private placement to eligible investors outside of Mexico.
With president-elect Trump due to take office this week we wonder what this means for the cement industry in Mexico. In 2016 this column looked a couple of times at the implications of Trump upon the US cement industry. First, we looked at who might benefit if he builds his wall along the Mexican border and then we wondered what his policies might mean for the US industry. To answer the latter first, the main issues for the US industry are infrastructure, changes to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and the repercussions if Trumps serious about a trade war with China. So long as a trade war doesn’t happen then Trump is probably good news for the US cement industry. As for Mexico, the joke has been that Trump will be good for the construction business ever since market analysts Bernstein’s passed a note around in the summer of 2016 about that wall.
Graph 1: Breakdown of Mexican cement industry by production capacity. Source: Global Cement Directory 2017.
The makeup of the domestic Mexican cement industry hasn’t changed too much in the last decade, even with the merger between Lafarge and Holcim, preserving the same market share in production capacity between the companies. Most of the producers have reported growth in 2016. Cemex reported that its cement sales volumes rose by 3% for the first nine months of 2016 and by 10% in the third quarter of that year. Overall though, its net sales fell slightly to US$2.16bn in the first nine months, alongside a fall in ready-mix concrete sales volumes. Cemex, crucially, also seems to have taken charge of its debts in 2016, saying that it was on track to meet its targets and that it had announced nearly US$2bn worth of divestments in that year. Currently the company is trying to buy out Trinidad Cement in the Caribbean, which may be a sign that it has turned a corner.
Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua’s (GCC) cement sales volumes rose in the first three quarters of 2016, in its case by 4%. Its overall net sales in Mexico rose by 4.2% in Mexican Pesos for the same period but fell when calculated in US Dollars due to currency variations. GCC attributed its sales growth to better pricing environment and increased cement volumes, mainly for projects in the commercial and industrial sectors that compensated for a decline in the public sector, following the culmination of two major urban paving and highway construction projects in 2015. At the smaller end of the market, Elementia reported that its cement sales skyrocketed by 30% to US$104m in the first nine months of the year aided by higher prices and volumes.
The major Mexican cement producers all have a presence in the US with the exception of Cruz Azul. Cemex has held assets north of the border for years, Cemento Portland Moctezuma has links to Buzzi Unicem, GCC bought US assets from Cemex in 2016 and Elementia completed its purchase of Giant Cement also in 2016. These companies have clinker in their kilns in plants on US soil manned by US citizens. This represents investment in local industry and it is exactly the kind of thing that appeals to the rhetoric of Trump’s approach so far. If the new president builds his wall then Mexican producers will probably be producing much of the cement that builds it. Even the Mexican Peso’s slow decline since 2014 could help the local cement industry, as it will cut the cost of moving exports and materials north of the border. Indeed, Enrique Escalante, the chief executive officer of GCC said in late 2016 that his company was ‘ready to build’ Trump’s wall.
However, the sheer uncertainty factor of an incoming president with as little experience of public office as Donald Trump must be giving chief executives pause for thought. After all, Trump's tweets before he has assumed office have forced car manufacturers to change policy. If he manages to disrupt the North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in order to protect US jobs then the repercussions for the Mexican economy will be profound. It sends nearly three quarters of its exports to the US. Local cement producers would surely suffer in the resulting economic disruption.
So, currency devaluations aside, Mexican producers are making money from their cement operations at home and they are increasingly hedging their bets by operating or buying units in the US. Some, like GCC, are even being ebullient about the benefits that might come their way. It may be a bumpy ride but the Mexican industry is ready. However, it may wish to avoid appearing in any of Donald Trump’s tweets anytime soon.