Martin Marietta 4Q Profit Disappoints, Outlook Mixed

By Industrials FOXBusiness

Despite higher prices that boosted revenue, Martin Marietta Materials (MLM) revealed a flat fourth-quarter profit that missed Wall Street expectations and offered a cautious outlook.

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The company said it remains uncertain on its 2012 forecast due to a “variety of factors beyond” its direct control.

Martin Marietta sees heritage infrastructure market volumes down slightly in 2012, but anticipates double-digit volume growth in its heritage non-residential market, driven by increased energy shipments.

Heritage aggregates prices are slated to rise between 2% and 4%, though the overall increase is not expected to be uniform across the company.

The Raleigh, N.C.-based provider of construction equipment posted fourth-quarter net income of $14.8 million, or 18 cents a share, with total profit flat from the year-earlier, but up from 3 cents a share.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned 32 cents, below average analyst estimates of 39 cents in a Thomson Reuters poll.

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Revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31 was $374.8 million, up from $346.9 million a year ago, beating the Street’s view of $438 million.

The gains were led by record results in its specialty products division, including growth in the chemicals and lime product lines, as well as higher prices and volumes.

“Underlying these results is a 6% increase in average selling price in our heritage aggregates product line that continued the momentum generated throughout the entire year,” Martin Marietta CEO Ward Nye said in a statement.

While heritage aggregates product line shipments fell 1.2% during the quarter, volume grew in certain regions, including a 6.6% increase in heritage shipments in the Mideast, and a 2% increase in shipments in the residential market.

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