The US ready mixed concrete industry continues a long slow recovery from the downturn which began after the general economic crisis in 2008.
Between 2010 and 2019, ready mixed concrete shipments grew at a cumulative average growth rate of 4.2% per year. Volumes continue to grow in 2020 and the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association estimates that concrete shipments were 8.9% above the prior year through February 2020. Obviously, since these 2 months were not effected by the Covid-19 related restrictions they may not be representative of what we can expect in future months.
The weighted average of the full year selling prices reported by the companies within the Concrete Financial Insights Index grew from $107.78 in 2015 to $121.38 in 2019 for a cumulative average growth rate of 3.0% over this period.
The full year volumes in 2019 remained well below the previous peak for ready mix concrete in 2005. Shipments of 371 million cubic yards of ready mixed concrete in 2019 were 87 million cubic yards, or 19%, below that peak year.
The weighted average of the full year selling prices reported by the five companies in the Concrete Financial Insights Index grew from $107.78 in 2015 to $121.38 in 2019 for a cumulative average growth rate of 3.0% over this period.
What is the average price per cubic yard for ready mix concrete in the United States? That’s not as simple a question to answer, based on publicly available information, as it might seem. There is no government statistical reporting of ready-mix concrete prices equivalent to the US Geological Survey reports on cement, crushed stone, and sand & gravel pricing. Additionally, many of the publicly traded participants within the US ready mixed concrete industry do not separately report concrete segment volumes and revenues. Five industry participants who lead the industry in financial reporting transparency by reporting US concrete volumes and pricing are Eagle Materials, Martin Marietta, Summit Materials, US Concrete, and Vulcan Materials.
The National Ready Mixed Concrete Association estimates that the US concrete industry shipped 371 million cubic yards of ready mixed concrete during 2019 and the five companies included in the Concrete Financial Insights Index of weighted average ready mixed concrete pricing represent only 7% of that volume. It’s likely that this group’s weighted average pricing is somewhat higher than that of the overall US industry because these five firms have the technical capabilities and plant locations to service large commercial and infrastructure projects requiring higher strength mixes with more costly blends of raw materials.
Other large industry participants selling an integrated mix of construction materials including ready mix concrete, cement, and aggregates within the United States do not provide this same level of information to investors.
We believe that more transparent segment reporting information for the concrete operations by all integrated participants within the US construction materials industry would be extremely beneficial for investors. Publishing this information would allow analysts and investors to compare and contrast the operating results of the publicly traded firms within the ready mixed concrete segment of construction materials more accurately.