Martin Marietta Materials posted a wider first quarter loss than Wall Street analysts expected Tuesday but the Raleigh company raised its guidance for the rest of the year after sales increased 21 percent.
Company officials also said they would proceed with plans to nominate four directors to rival Vulcan Materials Board of Directors on June 1. Martin Marietta said it spent $25.9 million in the quarter on its efforts to merge with Vulcan.
Martin Marietta initiated its $4.7 billion takeover of its larger rival in December, and the companies have been trading lawsuits and public barbs ever since.
Excluding business development expenses and acquisition expenses, Martin Marietta reported a loss of 30 cents per diluted share in the quarter, compared to a loss of 39 cents during the same period a year ago.
Net sales, however, increased 20.6 percent to $350.5 million and Martin Marietta shipped 9.6 percent more materials than it did during the first quarter of 2011.
The company, which provides the materials used to build roads, subdivisions and commercial buildings, is considered a bellwether for the construction industry.
The consensus among Wall Street analysts who cover the company was a loss of 24 cents per share and sales of $364 million..
CEO Ward Nye said in a statement that the first quarter’s results were hurt by an unexpectedly large seasonal loss in the assets it acquired in a deal last year with Lafarge North America.
The company acquired Lafarge's quarry sites, concrete and asphalt plants and road paving business in Denver in exchange for cash and Martin Marietta's quarries and distribution yards along the Mississippi River.
Nye said the company is optimistic about its performance for the remainder of the year, and has raised its forecast both for the volume of shipments of materials and the pricing of those materials.
The company now expects shipments for the year to increase from four to five percent, and pricing to increase from two to four percent.