The first quarter was tough for two leading U.S. construction aggregates producers, with high diesel fuel costs, record bad weather and slow-moving stimulus work combining to hammer revenue and profits for Vulcan Materials Co., Birmingham, Ala., and Martin Marietta Materials Inc., Raleigh, N.C. But both saw some improvement going into the second quarter and predict more stimulus demand by year’s end. Photo: Vulcan Materials Co. Aggregates could pick up in demand this year as stimulus-funded highway jobs progress. For the first quarter ended on March 31, Vulcan, the largest U.S. aggregates maker, reported on May 3 a $39-million loss—$6 million
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.