Updated from 11:28 a.m. EDT


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, a Mexican cement company, announced on Friday that it would reach across the border to acquire



, a cement producer in Texas, in a deal valued at $2.6 billion.

In a rapidly consolidating industry, Cemex said the deal would expand its presence in the U.S., give it a competitive edge in other global markets and strengthen a platform from which to grow even bigger.

Cemex, which is based in Monterrey, Mexico, said it would exchange $73 in cash for each Southdown share and would assume another $185 million of the company's long-term debt. Including the debt, the agreement is valued at about $2.8 billion.

The pact represents a 33% premium for shareholders of Houston-based Southdown, based on the company's closing price Thursday of $54.87. Southdown finished Friday regular trading up $16.41, or 30%, at $71.25. Meanwhile, Cemex closed Friday regular trading down 88 cents, or 4%, at $20.06.

In the past, Southdown has said it would entertain deals, including a possible sale of the company, to stimulate its stock, which analysts and the company maintained was undervalued. Investors at the time may have believed that residential and commercial construction already had peaked, signaling a potential decline in cement revenue.

Last month, Southdown, which has 12 cement-manufacturing plants serving 27 U.S. states, posted second-quarter earnings of $61.4 million, or $1.69 a share, compared with $60.5 million, or $1.57 a share, a year earlier.

Clarence C. Comer, president and chief executive of Southdown, will sit at the helm of U.S. operations, while Lorenzo Zambrano, chairman and chief executive of Cemex, will remain in that post as the head of the combined entity, the companies said.

After the deal is completed, the combined entity would generate roughly $6.3 billion in annual sales, according to a statement, and would immediately see earnings improvement. "To make a long story short, we like what we see," Zambrano said in a conference call Friday.

"Our aim is not be the largest," Zambrano said, "but to be the most profitable and the most efficient cement producing multinational company in the world."