Who’s Number One?

May 24, 2021 –  Martin Marietta Materials Inc. opened everyone’s eyes like a strong cup of coffee this morning by announcing a blockbuster deal to acquire Lehigh Hanson Inc.’s West Region business from HeidelbergCement for $2.3 billion. Speculation has already begun in earnest about whether the transaction would make Martin Marietta the nation’s number-one aggregates producer. With help from Jason Willett, crushed-stone commodity specialist at the U.S. Geological Survey, Rock Products is guessing the answer – for now – is no. Martin Marietta’s 2020 total shipments equaled 186.5 million tons (see page 68 of its 2020 Annual Report). Vulcan’s 2020 total shipments equaled 208.295 million tons (see page 39 of its 2020 Annual Report). According to information provided exclusively to Rock Products by Lehigh Hanson’s parent company HeidelbergCement, the 17 active aggregates sites included in the transaction represent approximately 13 million tons of production. In theory, that leaves Martin Marietta about 5 million tons short. But what could growth in the aggregates market, and specific regions of the country – spurred on by a new infrastructure bill – do to those production numbers? We may have to wait a few years to find out. Then we will know with a bit more certainty who is number-one.

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