Martin Marietta rises as strong results from cement business lift its 4th-quarter results

IndustriesAssociated Press

Martin Marietta Materials' quarterly profit surged almost 80 percent as the construction materials company sees demand rise in an improving economy.

Shares have been climbing since the beginning of the year and hit another high for 2015 on its fourth-quarter results posted Tuesday.

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Martin Marietta acquired cement and building materials maker Texas Industries for $2.06 billion in July. That helped expand its business into the large, fast-growing markets of Texas and California. The company said demand in Texas is likely to outstrip supply for several years and it recently announced prices hikes of $10 per ton there and in California.

The U.S. Department of Commerce said in January that construction of new homes rebounded in December. Housing activity in 2014 reached its highest level since the peak of the housing boom nine years ago.

The company reported $100 million in revenue from the cement business during the quarter and $210 million for the year. Martin Marietta also makes granite, limestone, sand and gravel.

Shares of Martin Marietta jumped $12.51, or 10.5 percent, to $131.67 in midday trading. The stock is trading close to a seven-year high.

In the fourth quarter the company reported net income of $64 million, or 95 cents per share. Excluding one-time costs and gains, Martin Marietta said it earned 99 cents per share. Its revenue totaled $779.5 million.

Analysts expected net income of 85 cents per share on $775.6 million in revenue, according to estimate compiled By Zacks Investment Research.

For the year, the company reported a profit of $155.6 million, or $2.71 per share, on $2.68 billion in revenue.

Martin Marietta shares have risen 19 percent since the beginning of the year.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on MLM at http://www.zacks.com/ap/MLM

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Keywords: Martin Marietta, Earnings Report