(Adds comments from executives during earnings call)
April 28 (Reuters) - Mexico's Cemex reported a 13% increase in first-quarter sales on Thursday, amid strong demand and price hikes even as higher fuel and transport costs narrowed the cement maker's margins.
Prices of cement produced by the company rose around 12% during the three-month period, and the firm expects more increases, Chief Executive Officer Fernando Gonzalez said during a call to discuss the results.
Cemex, whose shares climbed as much as 9% before trimming gains, said it had raised cement prices in Mexico by 11% in April.
"We are carrying out these actions with the aim of recovering our margins," Gonzalez said.
The firm's EBITDA margin decreased 1.7 percentage points in the first quarter to 18.3%. Mexico experienced the steepest drop among the regions where the company operates, with a decline of 3.9 percentage points.
Cemex attributed the fall to "higher energy costs and product mix effects," in a presentation.
The company is adjusting its strategy to reflect the inflation climate and the disruption caused by the war between Russia and Ukraine, he said.
Energy costs could be a key driver for price increases as the company expects them to go up by 35% during the year, the executive said.
Cemex's net profit attributable to shareholders dropped 70% to $198 million from $665 million.
The company lowered its estimated fixed-asset investment for this year to $1.2 billion from the previous $1.3 billion, according to presentations shared by the company.
The company said in February that it would raise cement prices through 2022 as inflationary pressures rise. (Reporting by Nathan Gomes in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Noe Torres and Valentine Hilaire in Mexico City; Editing by Paul Simao and Bernadette Baum)