Martin Marietta Materials reported results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2018. The company is reporting revenues of $802 million versus $843.9 million in the first quarter of 2017.
Ward Nye, chairman, president and CEO of Martin Marietta, stated, “As we start the year, we are encouraged by ongoing customer optimism and our first-quarter results, both of which are consistent with our expectations. Additionally, while we remain on track to achieve our original 2018 guidance, we are updating and increasing that outlook to reflect the contribution we expect from our acquisition of Bluegrass Materials Co.
“We remain confident that underlying market fundamentals, including positive employment and population trends across our geographic footprint, will stimulate continued growth in private construction activity and provide an impetus for additional infrastructure demand as the current broad-based recovery continues. Underlying demand trends, coupled with continued pricing growth for all products and segments, reinforce our full-year 2018 outlook as construction activity accelerates during the balance of the year. Importantly, throughout the quarter, we saw strong shipment volumes on days not impacted by typical winter weather.
“Our confidence is bolstered by the recent completion of our acquisition of Bluegrass and the addition of a talented group of new employees to the Martin Marietta team. The acquisition, the second largest in our history, strengthens our aggregates-led position in high-growth southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions, particularly in Georgia and Maryland, and is consistent with our long-term strategic growth plan. We worked collaboratively with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) as it completed its review of the transaction and, as expected, the two quarries required to be divested do not impact the overall value or strategic rationale for the transaction. I want to thank our collective employees for their contributions to successfully completing this acquisition. Working together, we will expeditiously deliver significant value from our enhanced business profile. As we integrate the Bluegrass operations and realize synergies, we remain committed to world-class safety standards, diligent cost discipline, operational excellence, customer service and prudent capital allocation.”
Nye concluded, “We believe the United States is in the midst of a steady, multi-year construction recovery. Our leading positions in attractive, high-growth markets allow us to benefit from anticipated increased demand for both public and private construction activity in 2018 and beyond. Long term, we remain focused on elevating Martin Marietta from an aggregates industry leader to a globally recognized world-class organization, allowing us to further enhance shareholder value.”
First-quarter aggregates shipments returned to levels more in-line with historical trends and patterns. Winter weather traditionally limits the ability of outdoor contractors to perform work during the winter months. Accordingly, first-quarter operating results compare unfavorably to the first quarters of 2017 and 2016, when the company benefitted from back-to-back unseasonably favorable weather conditions. For the quarter, aggregates product revenues decreased 5.8 percent, reflecting a 7.9 percent decline in shipments. Aggregates pricing improved 2.3 percent.
The Mid-America Group generated aggregates pricing growth of 4.9 percent, driven by continued price discipline and favorable product mix. Pricing improved 2.2 percent for the Southeast Group as winter weather and poor railroad performance constrained long-haul shipments to distribution yards in Florida and Georgia. Product mix, reduced commercial rail-shipped volumes and various competitive dynamics in portions of Texas offset robust pricing growth in Colorado, resulting in a modest price increase for the West Group. Traditional cold and wet conditions, coupled with railroad inefficiencies, also contributed to the 12.4 percent shipment decline for the Southeast Group and the 4.7 percent decline for the West Group. Mid-America Group shipments decreased 9.9 percent.