Cemex, which will be marking its first century as an operating entity this year, is a global building solutions company and the world’s third biggest cement maker. With its roots and ownership in Mexico, it now operates in over 50 countries throughout the world.

The company is a keen user of technology for business advantage, with use of global positioning satellite
technology in its delivery trucks, which has radically cut costs and delivery times, and online auctions that have changed its business model. Other uses of technology are just as striking, such as a concrete mix with added anti-bacterial agent that means hospitals built using the treated stuff can cut down on germs and also use less expensive cleaning agents.

Its UK presence now includes the assets of RMC, acquired in March 2005 for £2.3 billion, a move that doubled its size overnight. The company has also been linked with acquisitions in India and China, with its flamboyant CEO Lorenzo Zambrano claiming to already have “terabytes of information” on the latter’s market.

Just prior to the Cemex takeover, RMC had replaced its older Cobol systems with a single SAP system, a move predicted to save £10 million in annual running costs. But now its UK IT department’s functions are increasingly being shifted to Mexico as part of the takeover process. Overall, the firm plans to cut its global workforce by 2,000 and achieve savings of £110m annually by 2007.