U.S. Concrete reports results for fourth quarter, full year

Its focus on operational, technology, and financial improvement initiatives led to strong results in 2019 for U.S. Concrete, Inc. “Our record-high EBITDA in the second half of 2019 highlights the traction that our profit improvement initiatives are gaining within our operations,” said William J. Sandbrook, chairman and CEO, in a press release.

“While our fourth quarter of 2019 results were negatively impacted by a significant increase in our self-insurance reserves, cost claims, and premiums year-over-year,” he added, “we experienced good growth in our aggregate products segment and are seeing positive momentum in ready-mixed concrete pricing to further increase profitability.”

While consolidated revenue in the fourth quarter was down 0.2 percent to $369.2 million, aggregate product revenue increased 7.5 percent to $49.9 million. Aggregate volume increased 7.1 percent to 2.9 million tons. During the quarter, the average selling price increased from $11.35 to $11.93 per ton.

For the full year, consolidated revenue fell from $1.5 billion in 2018 to $1.48 billion. Aggregate product revenues increased 6.9 percent to $195 million, and aggregate volume increased 2.5 percent to 11.4 million tons.

The company’s outlook for 2020, which incorporates its acquisition of Coram Materials, calls for consolidated revenue of $1.5 billion to $1.6 billion and total adjusted EBITDA of $195 million to $215 million.

Higher aggregates and asphalt earnings drive Vulcan’s fourth quarter

Vulcan Materials Co. announced results for the quarter ended December 31, 2019, noting that higher segment earnings in Aggregates and Asphalt helped drive 15 percent year-over-year growth in the company’s fourth quarter earnings from continuing operations. 

Full year revenues were $4.9 billion, up 12 percent as compared to the prior year, and net earnings were $618 million, an increase of 20 percent.  Adjusted EBITDA increased 12 percent to $1.27 billion.  At year end, total debt was $2.8 billion, or 2.2 times trailing-twelve month Adjusted EBITDA.

“2019 marks another year of strong earnings growth and cash generation. We are particularly proud of our people who worked hard to achieve these results while ensuring another year of world-class safety performance,” said Tom Hill, Vulcan chairman and CEO, in a press release. “Widespread improvements in pricing helped drive 8 percent growth in our industry-leading unit profitability and double-digit growth in Adjusted EBITDA, a strong result despite some higher-than-expected costs in the fourth quarter. Industry leadership in safety and pace-setting unit margins are both evidence of our strong and healthy business. Going forward, our compounding unit margins and our disciplined capital allocation position us to increase our cash flows and improve our return on invested capital again in 2020.”

Aggregates results

Fourth quarter sales increased 10 percent, while gross profit grew 7 percent to $275 million or $5.32 per ton. Fourth quarter aggregates shipments increased 4 percent compared to the same quarter a year prior. The freight-adjusted average sales price increased 5.5 percent to $13.96. The fourth quarter was negatively impacted by higher repair and maintenance costs, geographic volume mix including higher sales volumes in rail-served remote markets, and lower tipping fees for clean fill.

For the full year, segment sales increased 14 percent, driven by volume growth of 7 percent and price growth of 5.6 percent. The freight-adjusted price per ton for the full year was $13.99. Gross profit increased 16 percent, and unit profitability grew by 8 percent to $5.32 per ton. Cash gross profit for the year was $6.74 per ton.

2020 outlook

“Looking ahead, demand in our markets will continue to benefit from higher levels of highway funding and continued growth in residential and nonresidential markets,” Hill said. “This visibility into demand growth has already set the stage for solid price improvement in 2020. Price improvement coupled with our four strategic initiatives (Commercial and Operational Excellence, Logistics Innovation and Strategic Sourcing) should continue to increase unit profitability.” 

Martin Marietta reports strong 4th quarter, full-year 2019 results

Martin Marietta President and CEO Ward Nye noted that 2019 was another record-breaking year for revenues and profits. He attributed it to the company’s strategic priorities: safety, ethics, cost discipline, and operational excellence.

In its 25th year as a publicly held business, Martin Marietta reported strong results for 2019. “Throughout our history, we’ve positioned our business to outperform through the disciplined execution of a proven strategy and a keen, shared commitment to the world-class attributes of our business, including safety, ethics, cost discipline, and operational excellence,” said Ward Nye, president and CEO of Martin Marietta during an earnings conference call.

2019 annual results “clearly validate the importance of these strategic priorities,” he added. “We reported a much improved year-over-year fourth quarter that capped off a 12-month period of record-setting financial performance. In 2019, we once again established new records for revenues, profits, and adjusted EBITDA from improved shipments, pricing, and cost management across most of our building materials business.”

For the year, consolidated total revenues increased 12 percent to $4.7 billion. Consolidated gross profit increased 22 percent to $1.2 billion. Adjusted EBITDA increased 15 percent to nearly $1.3 billion. Diluted earnings per share were $9.74 per share, a 31-percent improvement.

“Our 2019 results mark the eighth consecutive year of growth in these financial metrics,” Nye said. “Martin Marietta’s repeated ability to translate revenue growth into increased profitability has been, and continues to be, a differentiator, as strong earnings growth drove a total shareholder return of 64 percent in 2019, more than double the S&P 500.”

Safety first

Nye underscored the numerous benefits of the company’s commitment to safety. “Safety is a core principal and the foundation of our strong financial performance,” he said. “We are proud to have achieved world-class lost-time incident rates company wide for the third consecutive year. Additionally, we’ve meaningfully improved safety performance at our legacy Bluegrass Materials operations acquired in 2018 – our company’s second-largest acquisition.

“From the boardroom to site operations, our teams have embraced our Guardian Angel and Wingman-branded safety culture. This continued commitment has elevated safety awareness across the company, reducing downtime from workplace incidents and leading to higher revenues and profitability,” he said. “Most importantly, working safely protects our employees and the more than 400 communities in which we live and work.”

Build materials results

For the full year, aggregates shipments increased 12 percent to 191 million tons and aggregates pricing rose by 4 percent. “Notably, for the first time in four years, aggregates shipments to all three primary end-use markets increased, reflecting improved strength in public and private sector spending in our markets,” Nye said.

Cement operations established new full-year records for volumes and gross profits. Shipments increased 10 percent to nearly 3.9 million tons. Pricing increased by 3 percent.

Ready-mixed concrete shipments decreased 2 percent due to weather challenges in the Southwest and Rocky Mountain regions. Prices increased “modestly.”

Asphalt shipments improved 7.5 percent, while pricing increased nearly 4 percent.

2020 expectations

“We are excited to build our momentum,” Nye said, noting the company plans to capitalize on attractive fundamentals that support sustainable and long-term construction growth in its markets. “This underscores the importance of a notion we have long articulated: Where you are matters.”

The company has positioned its business through aggregates-led expansion in high-growth mega regions.”These mega regions exhibit attractive market fundamentals, including population growth, business and employment diversity, and superior state fiscal position,” he explained. “Notably, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida will account for nearly half of our nation’s population growth between now and 2040. That is a staggering statistic in four of our top 10 states by revenue. These states are experiencing, and will likely continue to experience, a significant influx of people requiring homes, schools, offices, restaurants, and roads. In short, population growth will drive increased consumption of heavy-side building materials in key Martin Marietta-served markets for the next two decades.

“With that in mind, we are confident that construction activity in our top 10 states will continue to outpace growth nationwide,” Nye said. “The combination of strong infrastructure funding levels and healthy private sector activity is expected to drive both increased shipments and better pricing, resulting in record-level profitability for our company in 2020.

“We’re proud of our 2019 record financial results and industry-leading safety performance. We’re equally optimistic about the future of Martin Marietta. As we move forward, Martin Marietta remains committed to positioning our business to be aggregates led in high-growth geographies and aligning our product offerings to leverage strategic cement and targeted downstream opportunities,” he said. “We will continue to be disciplined in our solid strategic plan, in our team’s commitment to the world-class attributes of our business: safety, ethics, cost discipline, and operational excellence. We look forward to continuing our strong momentum in 2020 and further strengthening our foundation for long-term success.”

See the full results here.