Photographer: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg

Cemex Spurns Role as Mexico Wall Supplier in Spite of Allure

  • Cement giant absent from list of project’s potential suppliers
  • Company has cement plants on both sides of the border

Cemex SAB, the Mexican cement giant, opted not to bid on supplying President Donald Trump’s proposed wall between the Mexico-U.S. border, forsaking profits in the face of a potential backlash in its home country.

The company, based in the suburbs of Monterrey, isn’t listed on the U.S. General Services Administration’s Federal Opportunities website of potential suppliers to the planned border wall, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. Jorge Perez, a spokesman for the company, confirmed the company didn’t participate in the process.

Mexico’s biggest cement maker has plants on both sides of the border, and its potential to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the border wall had been seen by analysts at Barclays Plc and other researchers as an ironic outcome of Trump’s attempt to shut out undocumented Mexican immigrants. Some estimates peg the cost of the wall at $15 billion or more. Trump’s budget proposal seeks $1.5 billion for 2017 and $2.6 billion for 2018 to build the wall, with more spending later, Michael Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said Thursday.

Even if Cemex doesn’t supply materials for the wall, it could still benefit from a boost in general demand for cement, which would help all suppliers indirectly. Cemex sees cement demand growing 4 percent and 6 percent on public works like the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan and the potential wall, according to a Thursday presentation by U.S. division President Ignacio Madridejos to investors in New York.

Earlier this month, the company said if a client asked for prices on materials, it would have the responsibility to provide them, but said that wouldn’t imply Cemex would participate in the project. Cemex would face political pressure within Mexico if it became a supplier to the project. “It seems dishonorable for Mexican companies to participate,” Manuel Bartlett, a senator from Mexico’s Labor Party, said in an interview earlier this year.

Cemex shares rose 2.2 percent to 17.50 pesos at 2:49 p.m. in Mexico City.

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