BOGOTA, July 17 (Reuters) - Cemex Latam Holdings (CLH), a subsidiary of Mexican cement giant Cemex, said on Thursday net profit fell 42 percent in the second quarter compared with the same period last year, as costs of maintenance outweighed an increase in sales, though the company expects a recovery in the second half of 2014.
Net profit reached $67 million between April and June, up from $55 million in the first quarter, CLH said.
The company’s earnings before interest taxes depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) fell 14 percent in the second quarter to $142 million, because of regular maintenance to cement kilns, Chief Executive Carlos Jacks said during a conference call on Thursday.
“We carry out maintenance work in our kilns every twelve to eighteen months and during the first six months of 2014 we provided major maintenance to most of our kilns - actually five out of seven,” he said.
“We expect a recovery in our consolidated margins during the second half of the year.”
Sales rose 2 percent to $441 million in the second quarter, mostly due to Colombia operations, including government purchases for social housing projects, Jacks added.
“Though the results were negative, the slow-down in sales and shrinking of the margins was due to specific incidents,” said Alejandro Isaza, construction sector analyst for Serfinco.
“We anticipate that margins will recover going forward, now that maintenance has been carried out,” he added. “We have a positive outlook on the infrastructure projects being developed in the region - they give a positive outlook for the company.”
CLH operates in Colombia, Brazil, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador.
Net profit fell 14 percent to $121.2 million in the first half of the year compared with the same period in 2013, the company said.
Between January and June, the company’s debt fell 17 percent to $1.18 billion, compared with the same period a year earlier.
Sales during the first half of the year climbed 6 percent to $864 million, though EBITDA fell 8 percent to $283 million.
CLH shares fell 0.21 percent on Thursday to 18,580 pesos ($9.94) on the Colombian stock exchange.
$1=1,868.41 Colombian pesos Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra and Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Chris Reese