One doesn't ordinarily think of commodity producers as being big-time growth companies. But consider the following numbers for a moment:

  • 12% worldwide sales growth
  • 22% sales growth in Spain
  • 18% in Egypt
  • 13% in the U.S.
  • 10% in Southeast Asia
  • 9% in Mexico
  • 9% in Colombia
  • 7% elsewhere in Central America and the Caribbean
  • 6% in Venezuela

The company behind those numbers: Mexican commodity cement producer Cemex (NYSE:CX), which sold a grand total of $2 billion worth of pebbles and rock dust in locations around the world over the past three months. Now mind you, not all of this growth came from increases in the actual volume of cement sold. In fact, sales of run-of-the-mill sacks of cement were flat versus Q4 2003 (although sales of ready-mix cement did increase).

Rather, Cemex got a goodly portion of its sales increases from bumping up its prices, something a commodity producer can get away with so long as demand for its product remains strong, but not much longer than that (you listening out there, U.S. Steel (NYSE:X), Mittal (NYSE:MT), and Nucor (NYSE:NUE) shareholders?). And just like last quarter, beneficial trends in currency exchange rates also helped boost Cemex's sales numbers. Incidentally, they didn't hurt its earnings numbers either. For example, operating income would have increased 13% year on year even without currency fluctuations. With them, Cemex boosted operating income by 21%.

The company then cemented these outstanding results by dropping a huge proportion of them to its bottom line, where net profits more than tripled versus Q4 2003. While the company didn't give a whole lot of information about its full-year results today, it did mention that net profits for the year were more than twice what it earned in full-year 2003. Solid? Yep. Rock solid.

For more Foolish news on the exciting world of cement, read:

Fool contributor Rich Smith has no position in any company mentioned in this article.