The building materials manufacturer said the global financial crisis has presented the company with “unprecedented challenges”. Cemex said it expects its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation for 2009 to sit somewhere between $US3.5 billion and $3.7 billion, nearly a 20% drop on the company’s full year EBITDA for 2008 of $4.3 billion. Domestic cement and ready-mix volumes were predicted to fall in most counties around the world, with an expected decline of 15% in cement and 17% in ready-mix volumes in the United States. Anticipated reductions in Australian volumes include a 10% dip in ready-mix, and a 13% drop in aggregate. The company said its 2009 forecast does not take into account the current economic stimulus packages of various countries, which include substantial infrastructure investment. During 2009, the company said it plans to reduce its net debt by $3.6 billion to $14.3 billion, which, it says, will restore financial flexibility.