Consolidated net sales increased 9% in fourth quarter of 2020 to US$3.5bn and increased 1% for the full year 2020 to US$13bn versus the comparable periods in 2019. The 9% net sales increase represented CEMEX's highest reported sales in a fourth quarter since 2014.
Operating EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) increased 19% during the fourth quarter of 2020 to US$644m and increased by 7% for the full year to US$2.46bn. The company attributed the pickup in EBITDA in Q4 to significant momentum in cement volumes and cost savings under “Operation Resilience”.
Free cash flow after maintenance capital expenditures reached US$575m, a 9% growth versus the same quarter of 2019. Controlling interest net income was US$70m in Q4 2020 versus a loss of US$238m in the same quarter of 2019.
Despite COVID-19 disruptions during the year, CEMEX says it continued to make progress on its deleveraging goal. Excluding the foreign exchange effect, net debt plus perpetuals declined by US$1,027m in 2020, while the leverage ratio declined by one tenth of a turn.
CEMEX CEO Fernando González commented: “2020 was one of the most challenging years we have faced but it also was a remarkable year that tested the strengths of CEMEX and several of our recent strategic initiatives. I am proud of our performance, the organisation, and how we responded to the sudden arrival of COVID-19 in 2020."
Net sales in Mexico increased 23% to US$836m. Operating EBITDA, increased 26% to US$268m in the quarter, versus the same period of the previous year.
CEMEX’s operations in the United States reported net sales of US$1.0bn, an increase of 8% from the same period in 2019. Operating EBITDA increased by 25% to US$186m versus the same quarter of 2019. For the full year, the US business generated US$747m in EBITDA, the highest reported annual amount since 2007.
In the Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia region, net sales increased by 6%, compared with the same period of the previous year, reaching US$1.2bn. Operating EBITDA was US$159m for the quarter, 5% higher than the same period last year.
CEMEX’s operations in the South, Central America and the Caribbean region, reported net sales of US$410m, an increase of 6% over the same period of 2019. Operating EBITDA increased by 11% to US$106m in the fourth quarter of 2020, in contrast to the same quarter of 2019.