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Martin Marietta Materials Delivers Gains in Fourth Quarter

Martin Marietta Materials Inc. announced fourth-quarter earnings of $14.8 million compared to a loss of $3.2 million last year. Earnings from continuing operations amounted to $15.1 million compared to a loss of $2.7 million a year ago. Total revenues increased to $428 million from $374.7 million last year.

Ward Nye, president and CEO of Martin Marietta Materials, stated, "Our 2010 performance further distinguishes Martin Marietta as a premier performer among building-materials companies. Despite the difficult environment in which we were operating, the earnings power created from our steadfast focus on fundamentals, including stringent cost controls and prudent management of our assets, enabled us to deliver fourth-quarter earnings of $0.32 per diluted share and full-year earnings of $2.10 per diluted share.

"Our fourth-quarter earnings were driven by a 14 percent increase in heritage aggregates shipments, led by our West Group. Our Specialty Products segment also continued to deliver record performance, with record net sales, gross profit and operating earnings for both the fourth quarter and full year. As a result of what we accomplished in 2010, we see ourselves as well-positioned to carry this momentum into 2011 and 2012."

Nye continued, "Our financial results in October and November provide further validation of our previously stated view that volume recovery, combined with our lean operating cost structure, will lead to profit margin increase even without price increases. To illustrate, the incremental operating margin (excluding freight and delivery revenues) in our aggregates business for the months of October and November was 62 percent. This improvement was achieved despite the headwind from rising energy costs.

"Favorable weather conditions extended the construction season through November in most of our markets and were also a factor in our quarterly volume increase,” Nye said. “During the quarter, we experienced double-digit increases in aggregates shipments in each of our end-use markets. Infrastructure, our largest end-use market, had volume growth of 13 percent  compared with the prior-year quarter and was supported by an increase in state-transportation spending, somewhat tempered by continuing delays in projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The nonresidential end-use market also had growth of 13 percent compared with the prior-year quarter. This market continues to benefit from energy sector activity, as aggregates are essential to build access roads and drilling pads for numerous oil and gas projects underway in the southwestern United States.”

Martin Marietta’s results stand in contrast to Vulcan Materials’ recent results, in which the company reported a net loss for the fourth quarter of $47 million from $13.35 million a year ago.