While cement remains the most widely used building material in the world, its ubiquity has proven to be a blessing and a curse for large cement companies. Stalled construction worldwide has spurred a dramatic slump in sales for the three largest cement manufacturers, Cemex, Lafarge and Holcim, whose acquisition debt has just made financial matters even worse. Photo: C.J. Schexnayder / ENR Cemex’s only presence at World of Concrete was a mixer in the Peterbilt booth. With prospects dour for 2009—Cemex expects demand to drop 15% in the U.S. this year—the pressure on the firms’ bottom lines has only increased.