Martin Marietta Materials Inc   (MLM)
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Martin Marietta Materials Inc Segments


Business Segments III. Quarter
(in millions $)
(Sep 30 2020)
(of total Revenues)
III. Quarter
(in millions $)
(Sep 30 2020)
(Profit Margin)
1,321.40 100 % 294.40 22.28 %

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Growth rates by Segment III. Quarter
Y/Y Revenue
(Sep 30 2020)
Q/Q Revenue
III. Quarter
Y/Y Income
(Sep 30 2020)
Q/Q Income
3.28 % 4 % 55.38 % 35.29 %

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  Martin Marietta Materials Inc 's

Business Segments Description

Aggregates Business
The Aggregates business mines, processes and sells granite, limestone, sand, gravel and other aggregates products for use in all sectors of the public infrastructure, nonresidential and residential construction industries, as well as agriculture, railroad ballast, chemical and other uses. The Aggregates business also includes the operation of other construction materials businesses. These businesses, located in the West Group, were acquired through continued selective vertical integration by the Company, and include ready mixed concrete, and asphalt and road paving operations in Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Texas and Wyoming.
The Company is a leading supplier of aggregates for the construction industry in the United States.

The Aggregates and Cement businesses market their products primarily to the construction industry, with approximately 39% of the aggregates product line shipments in 2016 made to contractors in connection with highway and other public infrastructure projects and the balance of its shipments made primarily to contractors in connection with nonresidential and residential construction projects. The Company believes public-works projects have historically accounted for approximately 50% of the total annual aggregates and cement consumption in the United States. Therefore, these businesses benefit from public-works construction projects. The Company also believes exposure to fluctuations in nonresidential and residential, or private-sector, construction spending is lessened by the business’ mix of public sector-related shipments. However, after uncertainty regarding the solvency of the highway bill in 2014, the Company experienced a slight retraction in aggregates shipments to the infrastructure end-use market. Consistent with this trend, the infrastructure market accounted for a lower percentage of the Company’s aggregates product line shipments in 2016 and 2015 compared with the most recent five-year average of 44%.

As a result of dependence upon the construction industry, the profitability of aggregates and cement producers is sensitive to national, regional and local economic conditions, and particularly to cyclical swings in construction spending, which is affected by fluctuations in interest rates, demographic and population shifts, and changes in the level of infrastructure spending funded by the public sector.

The FAST Act retains the programs supported under the predecessor bill, MAP-21, but with some changes. Specifically, Transportation Infrastructure and Innovation Act (“TIFIA”), a U.S. Department of Transportation alternative funding mechanism, which under MAP-21 provided three types of federal credit assistance for nationally or regionally significant surface transportation projects, now allows more diversification of projects. TIFIA is designed to fill market gaps and leverage substantial private co-investment by providing projects with supplemental or subordinate debt that is not subject to national debt ceiling challenges or sequestration. Since inception, TIFIA has provided more than $25 billion of credit assistance to over 50 projects representing over $90 billion in infrastructure investment. Under the FAST Act, TIFIA annual funding ranges from $275 million to $300 million and no longer requires the 20% matching funds from state departments of transportation. Consequently, states can advance construction projects immediately with potentially zero upfront outlay of local state department of transportation dollars. TIFIA requires projects to have a revenue source to pay back the credit assistance within a 30 to 40 year period. Moreover, TIFIA funds may represent up to 49% of total eligible project costs for a TIFIA-secured loan and 33% for a TIFIA standby line of credit. Therefore, the TIFIA program has the ability to significantly leverage construction dollars. Each dollar of federal funds can provide up to $10 in TIFIA credit assistance and support up to $30 in transportation infrastructure investment. Private investment in transportation projects funded through the TIFIA program is particularly attractive, in part due to the subordination of public investment to private. Management believes TIFIA could provide a substantial boost for state department of transportation construction programs well above what is currently budgeted.

Transportation investments generally boost the national economy by enhancing mobility and access and by creating jobs, which is a priority of many of the government’s economic plans. According to the Federal Highway Administration, every $1 billion in federal highway investment creates approximately 28,000 jobs. The number of jobs created is dependent on the nature and aggregates intensity of the projects. Approximately half of the Aggregates business’ net sales to the infrastructure market come from federal funding authorizations, including matching funds from the states. For each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements, the Federal Highway Administration estimates an average benefit of $5.20 is recognized in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

The Company’s Aggregates business covers a wide geographic area. The Company’s five largest revenue-generating states (Texas, Colorado, North Carolina, Iowa and Georgia) accounted for 73% of total 2016 net sales for the Aggregates business by state of destination. The Company’s Aggregates business is accordingly affected by the economies in these regions and has been adversely affected in part by recessions and weaknesses in these economies from time to time. Recent improvements in the national economy and in some of the states in which the Company operates have led to improvements in profitability in the Company’s Aggregates business.
The Company’s Aggregates business is also highly seasonal, due primarily to the effect of weather conditions on construction activity within its markets. The operations of the Aggregates business that are concentrated in the northern and midwestern United States and Canada typically experience more severe winter weather conditions than operations in the southeastern and southwestern regions of the United States. Excessive rainfall, flooding, or severe drought can also jeopardize shipments, production, and profitability in all of the Company’s markets. Subject to these factors, the Company’s second and third quarters are typically the strongest, with the first quarter generally reflecting the weakest results. Results in any quarter are not necessarily indicative of the Company’s annual results. Similarly, the operations of the Aggregates business in the coastal areas are at risk for hurricane activity, most notably in August, September and October, and have experienced weather-related losses from time to time.

Weather-related hindrances were exacerbated over the last two years by record precipitation in many of the Company’s key markets. Net sales, production and cost structure were adversely affected by the significant precipitation. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA”) has tracked precipitation for 122 years. According to NOAA, 2015 represented the wettest year on record for Texas and Oklahoma, while North Carolina, South Carolina, Colorado and Iowa each experienced a top-ten precipitation year, and the nation as a whole had its third-wettest year in NOAA recorded history. In 2016, many areas in the United States again experienced significant amounts of precipitation. Texas experienced its 18th wettest year in the state’s recorded history per NOAA. Further, since March 2015, Texas and surrounding regions have experienced 18 major flood events. Additionally, in October 2016, rainfall along the eastern seaboard of the United States from Hurricane Matthew, a category-5 hurricane, approximated 13.6 trillion gallons. Hurricane

Matthew was also the first major hurricane on record to make landfall in the Bahamas, where the Company has a facility. Accordingly, the Company’s financial results for any year, and notably 2016 and 2015, or year-to-year comparisons of reported results, may not be indicative of future operating results.
Natural aggregates sources can be found in relatively homogeneous deposits in certain areas of the United States. As a general rule, truck shipments from an individual quarry are limited because the cost of transporting processed aggregates to customers is high in relation to the price of the product itself. As described below, the Company’s distribution system mainly uses trucks, but also has access to a river barge and ocean vessel network where the per mile unit cost of transporting aggregates is much lower. In addition, acquisitions have enabled the Company to extend its customer base through increased access to rail transportation. Proximity of quarry facilities to customers or to long-haul transportation corridors is an important factor in competition for aggregates businesses.

The Company also acquires contiguous property around existing quarry locations. This property can serve as buffer property or additional mineral reserve capacity, assuming the underlying geology supports economical aggregates mining. In either instance, the acquisition of additional property around an existing quarry allows the expansion of the quarry footprint and extension of quarry life. Some locations having limited reserves may be unable to expand.

A long-term capital focus for the Company, primarily in the midwestern United States due to the nature of its indigenous aggregates supply, is underground limestone aggregate mines. The Company operates 14 active underground mines, located in the Mid-America Group, and is the largest operator of underground limestone aggregate mines in the United States. Production costs are generally higher at underground mines than surface quarries since the depth of the aggregate deposits and the access to the reserves result in higher development, explosives and depreciation costs. However, these locations often possess transportation advantages that can lead to higher average selling prices than more distant surface quarries.

The Company’s acquisitions and capital projects have expanded its ability to ship material by rail, as discussed in more detail below. The Company has added additional capacity in a number of locations that can now accommodate larger unit train movements. These expansion projects have enhanced the Company’s long-haul distribution network. The Company’s process improvement efforts have also improved operational effectiveness through plant automation, mobile fleet modernization, right-sizing and other cost control improvements. Accordingly, the Company has enhanced its reach through its ability to provide cost-effective coverage of coastal markets on the east and gulf coasts, as well as geographic areas that can be accessed economically by the Company’s expanded distribution system. This distribution network moves aggregates materials from domestic and offshore sources, via rail and water, to markets where aggregates supply is limited.

As the Company continues to move more aggregates by rail and water, internal freight costs are expected to reduce gross margins (excluding freight and delivery revenues). This typically occurs where the Company transports aggregates from a production location to a distribution location by rail or water, and the customer pays a selling price that includes a freight component. Margins are negatively affected because the Company typically does not charge the customer a profit associated with the transportation component of the selling price of the materials. Moreover, the Company’s expansion of its rail-based distribution network, coupled with the extensive use of rail service in the Southeast and West Groups, increases the Company’s dependence on and exposure to railroad performance, including track congestion, crew availability, and power availability, and the ability to renegotiate favorable railroad shipping contracts. The waterborne distribution network, primarily located within the Southeast Group, also increases the Company’s exposure to certain risks, including the ability to negotiate favorable shipping contracts, demurrage costs, fuel costs, ship availability and weather disruptions. The Company has entered into long-term agreements with shipping companies to provide ships to transport the Company’s aggregates to various coastal ports.

From time to time, the Company has experienced rail transportation shortages, particularly in the Southwest and Southeast. These shortages were caused by the downsizing in personnel and equipment by certain railroads during economic downturns. Further, in response to these issues, rail transportation providers focused on increasing the number of cars per unit train under transportation contracts and are generally requiring customers, through the freight rate structure, to accommodate larger unit train movements. A unit train is a freight train moving large tonnages of a single bulk product between two points without intermediate yarding and switching. Certain of the Company’s sales yards have the system capabilities to meet the unit train requirements. Over the last few years, the Company has made capital improvements to a number of its sales yards in order to better accommodate unit train unloadings. Rail availability is seasonal and can impact aggregates shipments depending on competing movements.

From time to time, we have also experienced rail and trucking shortages due to competition from other products. If there are material changes in the availability or cost of rail or trucking services, we may not be able to arrange alternative and timely means to ship our products at a reasonable cost, which could lead to interruptions or slowdowns in our businesses or increases in our costs.

The Company’s management expects the multiple transportation modes that have been developed with various rail carriers and via deep-water ships should provide the Company with the flexibility to effectively serve customers in the southeastern and southwestern regions of the United States.

The construction aggregates industry has been consolidating, and the Company has actively participated in the consolidation of the industry. When acquired, new locations sometimes do not satisfy the Company’s internal safety, maintenance and pit development standards, and may require additional resources before benefits of the acquisitions are fully realized. Industry consolidation slowed several years ago as the number of suitable small to mid-sized acquisition targets in high-growth markets declined. During that period of fewer acquisition opportunities, the Company focused on investing in internal expansion projects in high-growth markets. The number of acquisition opportunities has increased in the last few years as the economy has begun to recover from the protracted recession. Opportunities include public and larger private, family-owned businesses, as well as asset swaps and divestitures from companies rationalizing non-core assets and repairing financially-constrained balanced sheets. The Company’s Board of Directors and management continue to review and monitor the Company’s strategic long-term plans, which include assessing business combinations and arrangements with other companies engaged in similar businesses, increasing the Company’s presence in its core businesses, investing in internal expansion projects in high-growth markets, and pursuing new opportunities related to the Company’s existing markets.

The Company became more vertically integrated through various acquisitions, including the 2014 TXI acquisition, in the West Group, pursuant to which the Company acquired ready mixed concrete, asphalt and paving construction operations, trucking, and other businesses, which complement the Company’s aggregates operations. The Company reports these operations within the Aggregates business segment, and their results are affected by volatile factors, including fuel costs, operating efficiencies, and weather, to an even greater extent than the Company’s aggregates operations. Liquid asphalt and cement serve as key raw materials in the production of hot mix asphalt and ready mixed concrete, respectively. Therefore, fluctuations in prices for these raw materials directly affect the Company’s operating results. During 2016, prices for liquid asphalt were lower than 2015. Liquid asphalt prices may not always follow other energy products (e.g., oil or diesel fuel) because of complexities in the refining process which converts a barrel of oil into other fuels and petrochemical products. We expect the Company’s gross margins (excluding freight and delivery revenues) to continue to improve for the legacy TXI aggregates-related downstream operations, similar to the pattern experienced at the Colorado aggregates-related downstream operations.

The Company continues to review aggregates-related downstream operations to determine if they represent opportunities to divest underperforming assets in an effort to redeploy capital for other opportunities. The Company also reviews other independent aggregates-related downstream operations to determine if they might present attractive acquisition opportunities in the best interest of the Company, either as part of their own aggregates-related downstream operations or operations that might be vertically integrated with other operations owned by the Company. Based on these assessments, the Company completed the acquisitions described under

General above, which included aggregates-related downstream operations, including ready mixed concrete and asphalt and road paving businesses in the Denver, Colorado, and San Antonio, Texas, markets. The 2014 business combination with TXI described under General above further expanded the Company’s aggregates-related downstream operations, with the addition of TXI’s aggregates and ready mixed concrete operations. The TXI combination also added the cement operations of TXI, which are accounted for as a separate business segment of the Company. The 2016 transactions described under General above further added aggregates-related downstream operations, with the addition of ready mixed concrete and asphalt and paving and contracting operations along the Front Range in Colorado and ready mixed concrete operations in central Texas.

Environmental and zoning regulations have made it increasingly difficult for the aggregates industry to expand existing quarries and to develop new quarry operations. Although it cannot be predicted what policies will be adopted in the future by federal, state, and local governmental bodies regarding these matters, the Company anticipates that future restrictions will likely make zoning and permitting more difficult, thereby potentially enhancing the value of the Company’s existing mineral reserves.
Management believes the Aggregates business’ raw materials, or aggregates reserves, are sufficient to permit production at present operational levels for the foreseeable future. The Company does not anticipate any material difficulty in obtaining the raw materials that it uses for current production in its Aggregates business. The Company’s aggregates reserves on the average exceed 60 years of production, based on normalized levels of production. However, certain locations may be subject to more limited reserves and may not be able to expand. Moreover, as noted above, environmental and zoning regulations will likely make it harder for the Company to expand its existing quarries or develop new quarry operations. The Company generally sells products in its Aggregates business upon receipt of orders or requests from customers. Accordingly, there is no significant order backlog. The Company generally maintains inventories of aggregates products in sufficient quantities to meet the requirements of customers.

Cement Business
The Cement business produces Portland and specialty cements. Cement is the basic binding agent for concrete, a primary construction material. The principal raw material used in the production of cement is calcium carbonate in the form of limestone. The Company owns more than 600 million tons of limestone reserves adjacent to its two cement production plants in Texas. Similar to the Aggregates business, cement is used in infrastructure projects, nonresidential and residential construction, and the railroad, agricultural, utility and environmental industries. Consequently, the cement industry is cyclical and dependent on the strength of the construction sector.
The Company has the leading cement position in Texas, with two production facilities, one located in Midlothian, Texas, south of Dallas-Fort Worth, and the other located in Hunter, Texas, north of San Antonio. These plants have a combined annual capacity of 4.5 million tons, as well as a current permit that provides an 800,000-ton-expansion opportunity at the Midlothian plant. In addition to these production facilities, the Company also operates five cement distribution terminals in Texas.
From July 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015, the Company also operated a cement plant at Oro Grande, California, cement grinding and packaging facilities at the Crestmore plant near Riverside, California, and two California-based cement distribution terminals. During 2015, the Company sold all of its California cement operations. It retained the real estate at the Crestmore facility, which the Company expects to sell for non-cement use. These operations were not in close proximity to other core assets of the Company and, unlike other marketplace competitors, were not vertically integrated with ready mixed concrete production.

Cement consumption is dependent on the time of year and prevalent weather conditions. According to the Portland Cement Association, nearly two-thirds of U.S. cement consumption occurs in the six months between May and October. The majority of all cement shipments, approximately 70 percent, are sent to ready-mix concrete operators. The rest are shipped to manufacturers of concrete related products, contractors, materials dealers, oil well/mining/drilling companies, as well as government entities.

Magnesia Specialties Business
The Company manufactures and markets, through its Magnesia Specialties business, magnesia-based chemical products for industrial, agricultural and environmental applications, and dolomitic lime for use primarily in the steel industry. These chemical products have varying uses, including flame retardants, wastewater treatment, pulp and paper production and other environmental applications.

Given the high fixed costs associated with operating this business, low capacity utilization negatively affects its results of operations. A significant portion of the costs related to the production of magnesia-based products and dolomitic lime is of a fixed or semi-fixed nature. In addition, the production of certain magnesia chemical products and lime products requires natural gas, coal, and petroleum coke to fuel kilns. Price fluctuations of these fuels affect the profitability of this business. The Company has sought to mitigate certain of these fluctuations and risks by entering into fixed-price supply contracts for certain fuels, including natural gas, coal and petroleum coke.

Management has shifted the strategic focus of the magnesia-based business to specialty chemicals that can be produced at volume levels that support efficient operations. Accordingly, that product line is not as dependent on the steel industry as is the dolomitic lime portion of the Magnesia Specialties business.


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