(Adds details from earnings call)
MONTERREY, April 29 (Reuters) - Mexican cement producer Cemex reported on Thursday a more than 15-fold jump in first-quarter profit, beating analyst expectations and sending its stock price surging.
The global cement giant said the results were boosted by higher sales in the United States and in Mexico, as well as by higher cement volumes in most of its markets and higher product prices in Mexico and across Latin Americas plus the Caribbean regions.
In early morning trading, shares of the company rose 4.85% to their highest level since October 2017.
Cemex’s net income during the first three months of the year rose to $665 million in the quarter from $42 million in the same period last year.
Lower costs and foreign exchange fluctuations helped drive the gains, the company said.
“We are quite pleased with our first quarter results... despite persistent challenges from COVID in many markets,” said Chief Executive Fernando Gonzalez.
The company’s global net sales rose 9% to reach $3.41 billion.
In Mexico, net sales increased 19% year-over-year, driven by high levels of remittances, government social programs and pre-electoral spending, the company said.
The company’s sales also rose by 15% in the South America, Central America and the Caribbean region, and by 2% in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia region, despite renewed pandemic-related lockdowns in some countries.
In the United States sales rose 5%, Cemex’s largest market, driven by volume growth in the residential sector.
On its investor earnings call, Gonzalez said the company is “optimistic” about the proposed infrastructure spending in U.S. President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan.
He also described Biden’s environmental proposals as a “positive position” and said Cemex is “reviewing its current positions” in light of U.S. carbon reduction goals. (Reporting by Laura Gottesdiener in Monterrey and Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Noe Torres in Mexico City; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi, Edmund Blair, Chizu Nomiyama and Marguerita Choy)