Martin Marietta Materials reported today that sales and profit declined in the fourth quarter as demand for the company's construction materials continued to be hurt by the recession, which has reduced state budgets for road work and curtailed overall construction activity.
The Raleigh company, which produces rock, gravel and other materials, had revenues for the three months that ended Dec. 31 of $374.7 million, down 20 percent from the same quarter in the prior year.
For the year, Martin Marietta revenues dropped 19.5 percent from 2008.
The company reported a loss per diluted share of 7 cents for the quarter, compared with earnings per diluted share of 60 cents for the same quarter in the prior year.
Earnings per diluted share for the year were $1.91, compared with $4.18 for the prior year, and lower than the company had predicted.
In November, Martin Marietta lowered its guidance for the year from $2.70 to $3.30 per share to $2.20 to $2.45 per share.
"The infrastructure construction market, which represented 55 percent of 2009 shipments, was weakened as state budgets were negatively impacted by the prolonged recession and further exacerbated by the expiration of the federal highway bill in September 2009," said Ward Nye, Martin Marietta's president and CEO.
Martin Marietta has had 15 consecutive quarters of declining volume when compared to the same quarter in the previous year.
Nye said the company expects the demand for infrastructure construction materials to improve in 2010, noting that in the company's top five states only 15 percent of the federal stimulus dollars allocated was actually spent.
Nye said the company expects a 2 to 4 percent increase in overall volume, adding, "however, if the decline in commercial construction is greater than anticipated, volumes may be flat or down compared to the prior year.
Martin Marietta owns nearly 300 quarries in 28 states. It employs about 4,750 people.
The company's stock closed Monday at $79.61, off 22 percent from its recent high Sept. 17.