And the firm is bracing itself for more bad news with it saying that it expects UK sales of aggregates, cement and ready mixed throughout the remainder of 2008 to all be down.
The UK president of the Mexican-owned company said fewer business days in the first quarter – last year’s first quarter accounting period ran into April while Easter was early this year – had also contributed to the slide. This saw cement sales slip six per cent and ready mixed down seven per cent while aggregates remainded stable.
Gonzalo Galindo added: “Demand is also being negatively affected by a slowdown in private new housing work, repair and maintenance and industrial sectors due in part to credit restrictions.”
Mr Galindo said aggregates would be down two per cent, cement by around five per cent and ready mixed by about seven per cent.
Cemex is ploughing more than £65 million into its businesses in 2008 and it will open a new blended cement facility at Tilbury in Essex – to provide more environmentally friendly cement – later this year.
The problems in the UK were not mirrored overseas where the firm said revenue across the entire group had increased 26 per cent to US$5.4 billion and earnings before interest and tax had grown 10 per cent to US$951 million.
Sales in the US and Spain – the two countries along with the UK most hit by the housing downturn – both increased with its US arm seeing revenue jump 43 per cent. The turnover rise in Spain was more muted, edging up just one per cent.