What: Shares of CEMEX S.A.B. de C.V. (CX -1.02%), one of the world's largest cement makers and construction materials company, are trading more than 11% higher today as of 2 p.m. EDT after the company posted a surprise net profit for the fourth quarter.
So what: Cemex reported a net profit of $144 million during the fourth quarter, which was a massive improvement from Q4 2014, when it posted a net loss of $178 million. The strong quarter helped the company post a full-year net profit of $75 million for 2015 -- the first time in six years that the Mexican multinational's full-year net income was positive.
"Despite a challenging macroeconomic environment which has affected many of our markets, our industry, and CEMEX in specific, we have been able to meet these challenges and deliver strong operating and financial results, on a like-to-like basis..." said Fernando A. Gonzalez, Cemex CEO, in a press release. "I am particularly pleased with the growth in our free cash flow after maintenance capex of more than US$480 million, which enabled us to reduce our debt by close to US$1 billion during the year."
Now what: The next step for Cemex will be to continue improving its operations while expanding its business. The company is targeting a further $2 billion reduction in debt over the next two years. Going forward, Cemex looks to recover the investment-grade credit rating it lost during the recent financial crisis and ensuing recession.