million decrease of our financial expenses as a result of our liability management initiatives
CEMEX is a global building materials company that provides high-quality products and reliable service to customers and communities in more than 50 countries throughout the world.
CEMEX has a rich history of improving the well-being of those it serves through its efforts to pursue innovative industry solutions and efficiency advancements and to promote a sustainable future.
Our company was founded in Mexico in 1906, and we have grown from a local player to one of the top global companies in our industry, with approximately 43,000 employees worldwide. Today, we are strategically positioned in the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Our operations network produces, distributes, and markets cement, ready-mix concrete, aggregates, and related building materials to customers in over 50 countries, and we maintain trade relationships in over 100 nations.
Our mission is to create sustainable value by providing industry-leading products and solutions to satisfy the construction needs of our customers around the world.
To achieve our mission, our strategy is to create value by building and managing a global portfolio of integrated cement, aggregates, ready-mix concrete, and related businesses. We accomplish this by making certain we:
Value our people as our main competitive advantage
Our people are our competitive advantage. That is why we hire the best and the brightest, and we take care of them. Indeed, employee health and safety is our company’s top priority. Ultimately, our goal is to achieve zero injuries each and every day.
We foster our people’s professional growth, helping them to fulfill their career ambitions. To this end, we provide continuous training and development opportunities that enhance our employees’ skills and enable them to work smartly, safely, and effectively. Moreover, we provide our employees with assignments that enhance their personal and professional growth, facilitate the exchange of best practices, and strengthen our shared corporate culture.
We also identify future leaders and foster their development: teaching them, coaching them, and empowering them to succeed. To prepare the leaders who will successfully guide our organization, we offer a portfolio of inter-connected leadership development initiatives.
We further encourage our people to speak up, to provide ideas, and to help solve problems. By truly valuing our people, we advance the culture we strive to achieve at CEMEX.
Help our customers succeed
At CEMEX, our core strategic goal is to become the most customer-oriented company in our industry. To accomplish this, we must continue to get closer to our customers, build lasting relationships, and listen carefully to understand their needs.
With this in mind, we are investing considerable time and effort to maximize our commercial excellence across our worldwide organization. We want CEMEX to be the supplier and partner of choice for our customers—whether global construction companies, governmental entities, or individuals building or expanding their family’s first home. We look to provide them with the most efficient and effective building solutions for their construction project, large or small. To this end, we help our customers succeed by delivering quality products, innovative solutions, and great customer service in all major construction segments, including the residential, commercial, industrial, and infrastructure sectors.
As a solutions-driven company, we continually do more to understand and satisfy our customers’ evolving needs. By constantly asking ourselves: What are the challenges our customers are facing? What success means to them? What are the products they need not just today, but in the future? We are all driven to drill even deeper to solve our customers’ important challenges and ensure that they succeed.
Pursue markets that offer long-term profitability
We do business in markets where we can add value for our employees, our customers, and our shareholders. We will operate only in those markets that offer long-term profitability.
Our geographically diverse portfolio of assets provides us with the opportunity for significant profitable organic growth over the medium to long term. Consequently, we will remain selective and strategic about where we do business, and will not chase growth simply for the sake of growth. We will also continue to optimize our portfolio to ensure that we are in the right businesses in the right markets with the right returns.
Leveraging our global presence and extensive operations worldwide, we will further continue to focus on what we do best: our core cement, aggregates, ready-mix concrete, and related businesses. By managing our core operations as one vertically integrated business, we not only capture a greater portion of the cement value chain, but also get closer to our customers by offering comprehensive building solutions. This strategic focus historically enables us to grow our existing businesses, particularly in high-growth markets and specialized, higher-margin products. We will only venture beyond our core strengths when it is essential to better market our products, and it is aligned with our strategy.
Ensure sustainability is fully embedded in our business
At CEMEX, we ensure sustainability is fully embedded in our business strategy and day-to-day operations. Our goal is to provide building solutions that meet the needs of a resource-constrained world, to minimize the ecological footprint of our operations, and to foster closer relationships with all of our relevant stakeholders.
Among our priorities, we look to take the lead in sustainable construction through the development of products, services, and building solutions for a low-carbon economy. We also actively participate in low-income housing programs and high-scale infrastructure projects.
Moreover, as part of our efforts to reduce our ecological footprint, we increase our use of alternative fuels and raw materials, improve our energy efficiency, and contract renewable power where feasible. Additionally, we optimize air quality, waste management, and recycling; diminish disturbances from noise and dust; and implement biodiversity action plans at our quarries.
Furthermore, we engage our key stakeholders. In particular, we place a top priority on the health and safety of our employees, our contractors, and our communities. We are committed to playing a responsible role in the social and economic development of our local communities, and we collaborate with governments, NGOs, and opinion leaders to anticipate and address emerging social demands.
One of our main priorities is to reach an investment-grade capital structure as soon as possible. To this end, we continue to focus on strengthening our financial position by improving our cash flow generation, selling assets, reducing our debt, and extending our maturities through different strategic initiatives. As a result of our efforts, we reduced total debt plus perpetual securities by close to US$1 billion during 2015 and by approximately US$6.9 billion since June 2009.
In March 2015, we issued €550 million of 4.375% notes maturing in 2023 and US$750 million of 6.125% notes maturing in 2025. The proceeds of these transactions were used to pay higher coupon debt and to fund the redemption of the floating rate senior secured notes maturing in 2015.
We reached commitments to refinance the remaining approximately US$1.94 billion of our 2012 Facilities Agreement.
We further early converted approximately US$511 million of our 4.875% convertible subordinated notes due 2015, and issued contingent convertible units for the remaining US$200 million of these notes outstanding, eliminating refinancing risk.
These transactions achieved annual cash interest savings of approximately US$120 million during the year.
In March 2015, the US$200 million of contingent convertible units were exercised. As a result of the exercise, we issued US$200 million of 3.72% convertible subordinated notes maturing in 2020. The proceeds of this transaction were used to finance, in part, the payment of our convertible subordinated notes maturing in 2015. In May 2015, we entered into a series of private agreements with certain institutional investors to exchange approximately US$626 million of 3.25% convertible subordinated notes due 2016 for US$321 million of newly issued 3.72% convertible subordinated notes due 2020 and approximately US$42 million of ADSs.
As a result of our liability management initiatives, our financial expenses decreased by US$184 million. We have no significant debt maturities in 2016 and 2017 other than the approximately US$352 million of convertible subordinated notes due March 2016 and approximately US$373 million due September 2017—corresponding to the first amortization under the syndicated bank loan facility. For the year, we extended the average life of our debt to 5.1 years from 4.6 years at the end of 2014. We also maintained more than adequate liquidity to support our operations and continued to comply with our financial obligations.
In addition to our financial expense reduction, we delivered on our free cash flow initiatives to improve working capital, which translated into a record low 20 working capital days. Moreover, we continued to optimize our maintenance and strategic capital expenditures to maximize our free cash flow generation. In 2015, we limited our total capital expenditures (“CAPEX”) to approximately US$762 million, including approximately US$252 million in strategic CAPEX.
Alignment with Investor Interests
Employee stock-ownership plan
To better align our executives’ interests with those of our shareholders, we began offering executives a new stock-ownership program in 2005. The plan moves our company’s long-term incentives from stock option grants to restricted stock awards. As of December 31, 2015, our executives held 30,056,793 restricted CPOs, representing 0.2% of our total CPOs outstanding.
We are committed to the highest standards of corporate governance. Our corporate governance practices are governed by our bylaws and all applicable provisions in both Mexican and U.S. securities laws. On a voluntarily basis, we also comply with the Mexican Code of Best Practices, which provides recommendations for better corporate practices for listed companies in Mexico. Our company’s board of directors is composed of qualified directors who provide appropriate oversight and meet the independence criteria under applicable laws. The requirement of independence of our audit committee members satisfies the independence and other requirements under applicable law, and one member of our audit committee meets the requirements of a “financial expert” as defined by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX).
We also have designed and deployed a formal internal process to support the certification by our Chief Executive Officer and our Chief Financial Officer of the information that we present in CEMEX’s periodic reports to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as to the corresponding securities authorities in Mexico. Moreover, in compliance with applicable requirements under SOX, we have established: 1) a system to ensure that relevant information reaches senior management in a timely manner; 2) a system for anonymously and confidentially communicating to the audit committee complaints and concerns regarding accounting and audit issues; 3) a process for anonymously and confidentially submitting complaints related to unethical conduct and misuse of assets; and 4) a task force to follow legal requirements and best corporate-governance practices and, when appropriate, propose further improvements. Our code of ethics reflects the requirements of SOX. We are in compliance with the applicable sections of SOX, including section 404.
million decrease of our financial expenses as a result of our liability management initiatives