When you own stock in a Mexican company, nothing makes for anxiety like seeing news out and trading halt. You can't help but wonder: Did the peso get devalued... again? Is there political strife? Please don't tell me Mexico defaulted on a bond issue!
Investing in companies domiciled in less-developed economies can be a rough ride. Such was the situation with cement producing giant Cemex
To my mind, wide diverse economic exposure -- Cemex has production and sales on five continents, in addition to being one of the largest cement producers in the U.S. -- and prodigious cash flow outweigh the risks. But things happen, and the stock opened this morning down about 6%.
Cement simply should not move that much.
The cause of the volatility was an announcement that Cemex plans to sell 25 million of its ADR shares (proxies for its Mexican common shares which trade on the NYSE) to raise about $550 million. Cemex plans to use the money to retire some forward contracts and to pay down more of its debt -- something its current management team has admirably focused on since taking the reins.
Further the company insists that this transaction will not dilute the value of existing shares, as the ADRs offered are tied to the forward contracts and are not new shares. Standard & Poor's further opined shortly thereafter that this was a positive development that helps Cemex lower its net debt position. And this is a bad thing how?
Folks with a short-term outlook headed for the exits fearing that this is a very large offering -- equivalent to 26 days average volume -- and the supply could weigh on the stock. As none of this centers at all on the underlying value at Cemex, I'd love for this very thing to happen -- for people to head to the exits on the chance that others are going to head to the exits. Some would call that a run on a stock.
I call it a bargain in the making.
Bill Mann owns shares in Cemex.