(Adds details on free cash flow; updates stock price)
MEXICO CITY, March 17 (Reuters) - Mexican cement maker Cemex said on Thursday it will raise its 2016 cash flow target by 75 percent and may sell $300 million in real estate assets as part of a cost-cutting effort to regain its investment-grade rating.
In a webcast presentation from New York, Cemex Chief Executive Fernando Gonzalez said the company, which operates in 50 countries, aimed to raise free cash flow by another $350 million this year from a previous target of $200 million in additional funds.
Last year, Cemex’s free cash flow totaled about $600 million. As the company’s refinancing plans advance and its tax bill is set to shrink, the firm’s free cash flow this year is expected to reach $950 million.
Juan Pablo San Agustin, Cemex’s vice president for planning, said during the webcast that the real estate assets that could be sold were located in Mexico, South America and Europe and do not generate operating revenue.
The company said last month it plans to sell $1 billion to $1.5 billion in assets and cut debt by $2 billion by the end of next year as part of a two-year cost-cutting plan.
Cemex shares gained 0.24 percent to trade at 11.16 pesos at 11:37 a.m. local time (1731 GMT). (Reporting by Gabriela Lopez and Miguel Angel Gutierrez; Editing by Paul Simao and Dan Grebler)