UPDATE 3-Mexico's Cemex posts narrower-than-expected first-quarter loss
(Adds comment from conference call, updates share price)
By Christine Murray
MEXICO CITY, April 30 (Reuters) - Mexico's Cemex, one of the world's largest cement companies, on Wednesday reported a first-quarter loss that was slightly better than estimates, helped by higher demand for cement in the U.S.
The Monterrey-based company posted a loss of $293 million, while analysts in a Reuters poll estimated a $305 million loss.
The better-than-expected performance was helped by a bigger contribution from the homebuilding and industrial sectors in the United States, despite unfavorable weather conditions there.
Net sales rose 8 percent to $3.59 billion, in line with estimates.
"Given the strong underlying drivers in Cemex's key regions, we believe the stock's reaction will be positive," Credit Suisse analysts said in a note.
Although the loss beat expectations, it was wider than the same period a year earlier, mostly reflecting higher interest payments on debt.
Cemex, which has struggled with a heavy debt load from expensive acquisitions, said total debt increased 1 percent from a year earlier to $16.69 billion. Continuación...