Martin Marietta, the second largest US aggregates supplier, sold 139.7Mt (154.0mst) in the first nine months of 2005, an increase of 7.4%. Prices in the period improved by 7.8%, and the underlying improvement in the third quarter was 8.9%, up from 8.3% in the second quarter. Group turnover rose by 15.9% to US$1,505.1m, of which the aggregates contributed around 92%, and the EBITDA improved by 26.8% to US$328.4m. Volumes and prices improved across most markets and more than compensated for the higher energy costs. The third quarter were affected by the hurricanes Katrina and Rita, particularly in Louisiana and Missouri, but at the pre-tax profit level, this affect was offset by gains on the sale of land and other assets. Also, the Louisiana and Missouri markets tend to be supplied from quarries and pits outside the affected areas. Net debt at the end of September stood at US$574.1m to give a gearing level of 47.8%. For the full year, Martin Marietta expects aggregates shipments to show an increase of around 6.5%, with prices being ahead by between 7.5% and 8%.