UPDATE 3-Mexico's Cemex shares rise after acquisitions ruled out
(Rewrites headline, paragraphs 1-5 with details from call)
MEXICO CITY Oct 23 (Reuters) - Mexico's Cemex said on Thursday its third-quarter loss narrowed from the previous year and that it ruled out bidding on any assets up for sale as part of a merger between its two bigger rivals, boosting its shares.
Holcim and Lafarge, the world's two largest cement makers, have put together a list of assets to sell as they look to win clearance from competition regulators for their planned mega-merger. Analysts had thought Cemex might be among those interested in bidding.
But Cemex is focused on recovering the company's investment-grade rating and for that reason will not bid for any Holcim or Lafarge assets, Chief Executive Officer Fernando Gonzalez told analysts on a call.
Shares in Cemex rose 3.24 percent to 16.23 pesos after the comment. They had risen less than one percent after the company earlier reported a narrower, but worse than expected, third-quarter loss.
"We believe that at this point in time, we don't need additional assets...to create value," Gonzalez said.
Cemex said its third-quarter loss narrowed to $106 million from $155 million in the same three months a year earlier.
Sales rose 3 percent to $4.1 billion, helped by higher prices and a pickup in some of Cemex's biggest markets, including the United States and Mexico. Excluding currency fluctuations, the increase would have been 4 percent.
Cemex has hiked prices to combat weak sales in Mexico, where an expected package of government infrastructure projects has been slow to launch, and in other sluggish markets. Continuación...