Cemex: Globalization “the Cemex Way”

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09-039 March 5, 2009

CEMEX: Globalization “The CEMEX Way”
Donald R. Lessard and Cate Reavis

When one wants to globalize a company, especially when it is from a developing country like Mexico, you really need to apply more advanced management techniques to do things better. We have seen many cement companies that use their capital to acquire other companies but without making the effort to have a common culture or common processes, they get stagnant. 1 —Lorenzo Zambrano, Chairman and CEO CEMEX On June 7, 2007 Mexico-based CEMEX won a majority stake in Australia’s Rinker Group. The $15.3 billion takeover, which came on top of the major acquisition in 2005 of the RMC Corporation – then the world’s largest ready-mix concrete company and the single largest purchaser of cement – made CEMEX one of the world’s largest supplier of building materials. This growth also rewarded CEMEX’s shareholders handsomely through 2007, though its share price had fallen precipitously in 2008 in response to the global downturn and credit crisis coupled with the substantial financial leverage that had accompanied the Rinker acquisition. CEMEX’s success over the 15 years from its first international acquisition in 1992 to the Rinker acquisition in 2007 was not only noteworthy for a company based in an emerging economy, but also in an industry where the emergence of a multinational from an emerging economy (EMNE) as a global leader could not be explained by cost arbitrage; given cement’s low value to weight ratio little product moves across national boundaries. Much of CEMEX’s success could be attributed to how it looked at acquisitions, and the post-merger integration (PMI) process that ensued, as an opportunity to drive change, and as a result, continuously evolve as a corporation. Since it began globalizing its operations in the early 1990s, the
1

John Barham, “An Intercontinental Mix;” Latin Finance, April 1, 2002.

This case was prepared by Cate Reavis from published sources

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