In the six months to the end of November, Texas Industries increased turnover from continuing operations by 14.6 per cent to US$462.6m, while the trading profit emerged 59.1 per cent higher at US$32.4m in spite of a 1.6 per cent reduction in the second quarter, that was affected by scheduled maintenance shut-downs at both the company’s Texas cement plants. In the previous quarter the hurricane Katrina caused a certain amount of disruption. As a result of the spinning off of the steel operations to shareholders and the early retirement of debt, a net loss of US$45.1m was incurred in the six month period.
First half cement shipments were affected by plant repairs and weather and deliveries were 6.0 per cent lower at 2.34Mt (2.58m short tons), but the average selling price improved by 14.5 per cent to US$91.95 per tonne (US$83.42 per short ton). Helped by good levels of construction activity both in Texas ands in California, a further cement price increase of around US$10 per short ton was introduced on the first of January. This should enable the decline in cement margins seen over the past four months blamed on higher energy costs to be reversed. The second quarter profits were hit by around US$10m from the maintenance works carried out on the two cement plants in Texas and by approximately US$14m from higher energy costs, particularly for electricity. Contracts have now been signed for an up-grading of the integrated cement works in California, which should lead to an almost doubling of capacity there when the work is completed in about two years’ time.
In the downstream operations, ready-mixed concrete deliveries rose by 7.7 per cent to 1.54m m³, with the average price rising by 15.2 per cent to US$88.58 per cubic metre, while aggregates shipments were ahead by 17.5 per cent to 12.04Mt and average prices improved by 3.4 per cent.