Gradual Recovery in U.S. Construction Market

Vulcan Materials Co of Birmingham, AL has reported first quarter aggregates net sales of US$503.5 million, up from US$428.7 million in the first quarter of last year. Unit shipments were 33.5 million tons, up from 29.6 million tons in the first quarter of 2014. The company’’s average unit selling price for aggregates improved from US$10.94/ton to US$11.34/ton. Vulcan’s calcium segment, comprising a mine and processing plant in Brooksville, FL, reported a gross profit of US$0.6 million on revenues of US$1.8 million. The segment mines, produces, and sells calcium products for the animal feed, paint, plastics, water treatment, and joint compound industries. Tom Hill, Vulcan’s CEO, said, “Although demand for our products remains well below normal levels, the gradual recovery in construction activity continues across most of our markets. As a result of improving market conditions and our continued focus on internal profit improvements, both pricing and margins continue to expand. Looking ahead, we remain well positioned to serve our customers and to achieve strong earnings growth in 2015 and beyond.” Martin Marietta Materials Inc of Raleigh, NC reports that its aggregates business, including asphalt, ready-mix concrete, and road paving, generated net sales of US$476.5 million in the first quarter of 2015, a 48% increase over the same period of 2014. The company’’s shipments of aggregates increased 17% to 28.8 million tons and the average selling price of its heritage aggregates increased 10% to US$11.96/ton. Ward Nye, Martin Marietta’s CEO, said, “We are pleased to report improved margins and increased profitability, both considerably ahead of our internal plans, and a first-quarter profit for the first time since 2008. These quarterly results serve as further validation of our success in executing on our strategic objectives, as well as our relentless commitment to operational excellence and cost discipline. Notably, we achieved volume growth and reported a double-digit pricing increase in our heritage aggregates product line despite severe late winter weather in many markets and significant rainfall in Texas. We view this volume and pricing momentum as an indication of a more construction-centric phase of economic recovery.” Summit Materials Inc of Denver, CO has reported a first quarter gross profit of US$35.7 million on net revenue of US$175.1 million compared with US$22.4 million on revenue of US$136.0 million in the prior year quarter. The increase in net revenue was primarily attributed to an increase in volumes in the aggregates, cement and ready-mixed concrete line of business, largely in the West region. Summit’s net revenue from materials increased 68% to US$50.1 million. Aggregates volumes grew 67.4% to 6.09 million tons; aggregates prices declined 0.9% primarily due to the regional mix effect of acquisitions in markets with lower absolute prices.

Volume 29 issue 10

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