Most concrete producers had a strong start to the year due to much of the country experiencing unusually good weather in the first quarter. However, the second quarter included the second-wettest April-June period recorded in U.S. history, which slowed construction activities.
The high-profile Lafarge-Holcim merger, completed mid-2015, opened a spot on The Concrete Producer’s annual list of top producers, making way for Votorantim Cimentos, based in Brazil. Below is our 2015 list of top publicly traded companies, based on North American revenue.
1. CRH (Oldcastle) / $10.26 billion
2014 revenue: $9.06 billion
U.S. HQ: Atlanta
Global HQ: Dublin
With operations in all 50 U.S. states and six Canadian provinces (as well as 29 other countries), CRH considers itself the largest building materials company in North America and third largest aggregate and ready-mix producer in the U.S. CRH acquired a portfolio of global assets worth about $7 billion from Holcim and Lafarge upon the completion of their 2015 merger. The deal includes all of Holcim’s assets in Canada and U.S. cement plants in Montana and the Great Lakes region. Additionally, CRH acquired C.R. Laurence, North America’s leading manufacturer of custom hardware and installation products for the professional glazing industry, for $1.3 billion.
2. Cemex / $6.78 billion
2014 revenue: $6.86 billion
U.S. HQ: Houston
Global HQ: Monterrey, Mexico
U.S. sales increased 7% to $3.9 billion in 2015, led by ready-mix and aggregates. The residential sector was the main driver of demand for cement, along with lodging and office construction spending. Infrastructure activity picked up during the second half of the year. However, sales of Mexican operations decreased by 11% due to the company raising prices on ready-mix concrete and aggregates.
3. LafargeHolcim / $5.8 billion
2014 revenue: Holcim, $3.70 billion; LaFarge, $3.33 billion
U.S. HQ: Waltham, Mass.
Global HQ: Zurich, Switzerland
The highly publicized Holcim and Lafarge merger was completed in July 2015. Now known as LafargeHolcim, the company reported that consolidated cement volumes in North America increased 4.2% to 21.8 million tons in 2015, driven by strong results in the United States and Eastern Canada. Aggregate deliveries went up 1.3% to 115.3 million tons. However, ready-mix concrete shipments were down by 1% due to plant divestments and lower demand from oil-dependent regions.
4. HeidelbergCement (Lehigh Hanson) / $4.12 billion
2014 revenue: $3.35 billion
U.S. HQ: Allentown, Pa.
Global HQ: Heidelberg, Germany
With continued increases in revenue and operating income, price increases in key markets, and lower energy costs, the producer called 2015 “the best year since the financial crisis.” In July 2016, HeidelbergCement completed the acquisition of a 45% shareholding in Italcementi S.p.A. and in August began the next phase toward full ownership, which includes offering cash payment for the shares of remaining Italcementi shareholders. In 2015, Italcementi generated $4.73 billion in revenue, and Heidelberg expects the acquisition to reposition the company as the No. 1 producer of aggregates, No. 2 in cement, and No. 3 in ready-mixed concrete worldwide.
5. Martin Marietta / $3.53 billion
2014 revenue: $2.96 billion
U.S. HQ: Raleigh, N.C.
At year-end, Martin Marietta reported that “we indeed had a remarkable year.” The company achieved record net sales of $3.3 billion — helped, in part, by its 2014 acquisition of Dallas-based TXI, the largest supplier of construction aggregates, ready-mixed concrete, concrete products, and cement in Texas. Martin Marietta also strengthened its position in the Colorado market with the late 2015 purchase of Front Range Aggregates (in Castle Rock) and early 2016 purchase of Rocky Mountain Materials (Colorado Springs).
6. Vulcan Materials / $3.4 billion
2014 revenue: $2.99 billion
U.S. HQ: Birmingham, Ala.
The aggregates producer finished the year strong with a 14% increase in total revenue. In early 2015, Vulcan exchanged its California ready-mix concrete operations for 13 asphalt mix plants, primarily in Arizona, to focus on Arizona’s asphalt market. However, the company also went on to acquire three aggregates facilities and seven ready-mix concrete operations in Arizona, New Mexico, and Tennessee.
7. Colas / $2.94 billion
2014 revenue: $2.72 billion
U.S. HQ: Roseland, N.J.
Global HQ: Boulogne-Billancourt, France
Colas has seen a nearly 8% increase in North American revenue; the company produces ready-mix concrete, aggregates, and asphalt in 27 U.S. states and eight Canadian provinces. Although the French company expects the cement market in its home country to potentially bottom out in 2016, Colas anticipates further growth in North America due to new federal and state infrastructure funding in the U.S. and Canada.
8. MDU Resources Group (Knife River Corp.) / $2.83 billion
2014 revenue: $2.9 billion
U.S. HQ: Bismarck, N.D.
The company’s construction materials and contracting business reported record adjusted earnings in 2015. Aggregate and ready-mix volumes increased by 4% and margins were up across all product lines. In addition, MDU’s Knife River entered 2016 with the largest contract in its history: A $63.4 million project to rebuild a portion of Interstate 29 in Sioux City, Iowa.
The producer benefited from growing cement and ready-mix demand in both the U.S. and Mexico, particularly in the commercial and residential construction sectors, although public construction activity began picking up around mid-year.
10. Votorantim Cimentos / $1.11 billion
2014 revenue: $720 million
U.S. HQ: Bridgeview, Ill.
Global HQ: Sao Paulo, Brazil
The Brazil-based company has been increasing its presence in North America since 2001 and now owns St. Marys Cement in the Great Lakes region/Canada, Prairie Material in the Midwest, Prestige Concrete Products in the Southwest, and Suwannee American Cement, a joint venture in Florida. Votorantim’s global diversification strategy is paying off: North American revenue increased by 54.8% in 2015, which helped offset losses from the severely declining Brazilian market.
Sources: Corporate annual reports and press releases. Companies that did not report revenue by region (i.e., North America) were not considered.