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Cemex plans price hike, is bullish on 2011 sales (Mexico)
Mexican cement producer Cemex (NYSE: CX) is planning to raise its prices this year to counter inflation in production costs, according to local daily El Universal.


"We're very optimistic that these price increases will go ahead and that we can begin the year with a boost in prices that will definitely cover the inflation we've seen in terms of production costs; mainly energy, electricity and fuel," the firm's VP of planning and finance, Fernando González, was reported as saying.


The US will see 7-17% price hikes on Cemex's three main product lines: cement, concrete and aggregates - depending on the financial state of each site. Prices are also due to go up in Mexico, according to the executive, who did not specify by how much.


Despite posting a US$581mn loss in 4Q10, the firm is confident that debt reduction and a boost in sales will help reverse this figure.


Cemex expects to see a 3% increase in Mexican sales in 2010, while sales in the US and UK should grow 5% and 2% respectively, according to the report.


The company will keep capital investments at US$475mn in 2011, which is the minimum required for the company to remain operational, so as to focus on repaying its debt, González said.


Cemex has struggled to pay back debt following its acquisition of Australian firm Rinker in 2007. However, the firm said it had cut its total debt by US$374mn in 4Q10.

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