An Intercontinental Mix

Apr 1, 2002

Cemex, the Mexican cement company, is a global player that has acquired competitors on five continents. But the markets are carefully watching Cemex?s Asian expansion, worried that it might now be overextending itself.

Cemex is famous for a number of things, among them its fabled management team and its obsession with centralization. But the company's principal claim to fame is its status as the largest and most successful of Mexico's multinationals. Cemex has grown by spotting underperforming companies around the world and making them profitable by submitting them to a wrenching process of management reengineering.

Lorenzo Zambrano, the company's courtly chairman and CEO, says he had little choice but to expand overseas. "If we had remained a regional company, a Mexican company, we would have disappeared as an independent company," says Zambrano. "It is as simple as that." He vows that as long as he is in charge of the company his grandfather founded, Cemex will remain independent (see "From Local Manufacturer to Global Player").

But it is becoming harder and harder to pull off takeovers. Consolidation still has a long way...

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