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Now Incorporating Aggregates Manager



Here’s to the Young Leaders

YLlogo sqAug. 7, 2020 – You have to give the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association’s (NSSGA) Young Leaders group credit. They didn’t let COVID-19 stop them from holding their 2020 annual meeting. It was held virtually, with enthusiasm and gusto. Rock Products’ Associate Editor Josephine Patterson, an active participant, was on-hand for the event, you can read her recap here. Rock Products is a proud sponsor of the Young Leaders each year. This group is the future of the industry, and by all accounts, the future looks good.

Read more: Here’s to the Young Leaders

Vulcan Looks Ahead

RR050219 VulcanLogoAug. 4, 2020 – Vulcan Materials released its second-quarter report and aggregates sales were up. Regarding the company's outlook, Tom Hill, chairman and chief executive officer stated, "Although the economic environment is showing signs of improvement, the pandemic's effect on demand and the broader economy remains unclear. As a result, we are not reinstating earnings guidance at this time. While demand is subject to market fluctuations outside of our control, we remain focused on those things we can control such as our cost and our pricing discipline, both of which help to compound our unit margins. Our year-to-date results demonstrate those capabilities. On a trailing-12-month basis our cash gross profit in aggregates is nearly $7 per ton. Our operating plans are underpinned by our four strategic initiatives (Commercial and Operational Excellence, Logistics Innovation and Strategic Sourcing), a healthy balance sheet, strong liquidity, and the engagement of our people."

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AGC Talks Recovery, Infrastructure

RR073120 AGCJuly 31, 2020 – The Associated General Contractors of America likes coronavirus recovery measures recently announced in Congress, but makes a good point: infrastructure spending is the economic recovery the workforce needs right now. Association officials noted that new coronavirus recovery measures include provisions that can help construction firms rebuild their payrolls. These include liability reforms so construction firms that are protecting workers from the coronavirus will not be subject to needless litigation. The proposal also includes improvement to the Paycheck Protection Program and an expansion of the Employee Retention Tax Credit the association supports. “While the measure also addresses unemployment insurance and workforce development, it fails to include the kind of infrastructure funding needed to rebuild our economy,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “That new funding is needed to address state transportation funding shortfalls, fix aging public facilities and help retrofit structures to protect students and others from the coronavirus.”

Read more: AGC Talks Recovery, Infrastructure

Martin Marietta's Second Quarter

RR043019 MartinMariettalogoJuly 28, 2020 – Martin Marietta reported a decrease in aggregates shipments in the second quarter, although company gross profit hit record amounts. But what about the company's other segments? Second-quarter cement shipments decreased 2.7%, driven by reduced demand for West Texas oil-well specialty cement products caused by historically low oil prices. While cement pricing increased attractively in North Texas, Houston, and portions of Central Texas, notably lower sales of higher-priced oil-well specialty cement products limited overall pricing growth to 0.1%. Cement product gross margin expanded 210 basis points to 39.7% driven by improved kiln reliability and lower fuel costs. Ready-mixed concrete shipments increased 8.7%, excluding second-quarter 2019 shipments from the Southwest Ready Mix Division’s business in the Arkansas, Louisiana and eastern Texas (ArkLaTex) areas that was divested in January 2020. Pricing improved modestly, with increased shipments and pricing contributing to the 270-basis-point product gross margin improvement. Colorado asphalt shipments increased 34.6% versus an extremely weather-challenged prior-year quarter. Asphalt pricing declined 1.4% due to unfavorable product mix from a higher percentage of shipments to lower-priced municipal projects. Products and services gross profit of $21.9 million was a second-quarter record.

Read more: Martin Marietta's Second Quarter

Big News from Summit

SummitLogoJuly 22, 2020 – With the economic impact of COVID-19 taking its toll nationwide, many people wondered what the publicly traded aggregates companies would report for the second quarter. We have the first report, from Summit Materials, and it is a good one. For the three months ended June 27, organic sales volumes increased 2.6% in aggregates. Aggregates net revenues increased by $1.3 million to $130.0 million in the second quarter 2020 when compared to the prior-year period. Aggregates adjusted cash gross profit margin increased to 63.9% in the second quarter 2020 compared to 61.4% on higher volumes and product mix. Aggregates sales volumes increased 2.6% in the second quarter 2020, when compared to the prior-year period on higher organic volume growth, particularly in Utah, Kansas, Missouri and Texas. Average selling prices for aggregates decreased 0.2% in the second quarter 2020. On a mix-adjusted basis, Summit estimates that aggregates prices have increased by approximately 2.5% year-to-date in 2020. Second piece of big news is that company president Tom Hill is stepping down to be replaced by Anne Noonan. I have had the privilege of interviewing Tom, and he was friendly, knowledgeable and forthright. Look for more on that transition in the coming months.

Read more: Big News from Summit