Martin Marietta Materials saw first half turnover improve by 6.7% to US$819.9m and the operating profit at the EBITDA level increase by 12.9% to US$12.9%. Capital investment during the period was 24.0% higher at US$70.3m. The aggregates represented 92.4% of sales and 95.2% of the trading profit, with aggregates deliveries 3.4% higher at 80.5m tonnes.
Because of some disposals, underlying shipments were ahead by 5.2% and prices improved by 2.1%. Favourable progress on both counts were seen in the Carolinas and in Georgia, but heavy rain towards the end of the period reduced volumes in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. A shortage of
available rail capacity hindered the Texan activities and more tonnage was brought in by ship from the group’s quarries in Nova Scotia and the Bahamas, with capacity at the quarry in Nova Scotia being increased by 50% to 4.4m tonnes par annum later this year. The group takes a cautiously optimistic
view of aggregates demand for the remainder of 2004, expecting aggregates volume to be up by between 2.5% and 4% and prices to increase by two to three per cent. Magnesia specialities, which represents the bulk of the non-aggregates sales, has had the benefit of strong lime sales to the steel
industry, up by 24% in the second quarter.