Florida Rock Industries, Inc has announced record net income of $32,128,000 or $.73 per diluted share for the first quarter of fiscal year 2004 versus $12,729,000 or $0.29 per diluted share for fiscal 2003. Real estate gains from the sale of the balance of the Company's Naples, Florida closed quarry site contributed $8,273,000 of after tax gain ($.19 per diluted share) on gross sale proceeds of $20,250,000 during this 2004 first quarter. Consolidated total sales for the quarter increased 37.2 per cent to $225,392,000 from $164,246,000 in the same quarter last year. The cement operations acquired in August 2003 contributed sales of $25,384,000 during the quarter. First quarter total operating profit was $49,517,000 inclusive of $12,932,000 of real estate gains from the sale of the Naples quarry site.
Sales volumes increased in all three business segments over first quarter 2003 as more favorable weather prevailed in all major markets. The cement segment showed the most dramatic volume improvement as a result of the addition of the tonnages gained from the cement acquisition of August 2003. Cement volumes were also unusually high at our Newberry plant as certain of our trading partners transferred extra volumes to us during the quarter to accommodate short-term operating changes at their respective facilities.
The higher volumes in the aggregates and concrete segments enabled lower operating costs per ton and per yard respectively thereby enhancing margins in both segments. Year-over-year comparisons for the quarter show a 28 per cent increase in aggregates volumes, a 16 per cent increase in ready-mix yards sold and a strong 34 per cent increase in block sales units.
Commenting on the quarter results, President and CEO John Baker stated that "our 2004 first quarter clearly constituted a 'sweet spot' as very favourable weather, recovering commercial construction, resilient residential construction and strong road-building in Florida combined to give us record results! Our Newberry cement plant came through its planned shutdown admirably and combined with our newly acquired cement facilities in Tampa and Port Manatee to produce an impressive contribution to our first quarter operating profit. Once again this record performance is a credit to the efforts and abilities of all our Florida Rock employees to whom we express our continuing appreciation."