Sources: Martin Marietta Materials, Inc., Raleigh, N.C.; CP staff
Martin Marietta anticipates a fourth quarter closing on Bluegrass Materials Co., billed as the largest privately held aggregates producer in the U.S., with 23 active sites across Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, South Carolina and Tennessee. The $1.6 billion deal follows by four and two months, respectively, announcement of two other major transactions anchored on Southeast aggregates riches: CRH/Oldcastle Materials’ acquisition of Indiana-based Mulzer Crushed Stone Inc. (Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia sites) and Vulcan Materials’ acquisition of Aggregates USA (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia sites).
“Bluegrass’ strategic assets, combined with the depth and strength of its personnel, are a natural fit,” says Martin Marietta CEO Ward Nye. “Through its significant operational investments, Bluegrass has achieved leading positions in some of the nation’s highest growth markets while maintaining an impressive cost profile.”
The Georgia and South Carolina operations complement Martin Marietta’s Southeastern footprint while expanding the range of products for new and existing customers. As the leading aggregates producer in Maryland, Bluegrass nets a new growth platform—spanning Baltimore, Frederick, Hagerstown and Maryland Eastern Shore metropolitan areas as well as Delaware—in the southern portion of Martin Marietta’s Northeast region. With aggregates shipments currently 20-30 percent below peak levels, Martin Marietta contends, all of the markets are expected to benefit from the accelerating economic recovery in the eastern United States.
Beyond Maryland, Georgia and South Carolina, Bluegrass has leading aggregate market positions in Bowling Green and eastern Kentucky, and parts of Tennessee. Operations in those markets were the charter properties for Jacksonville, Fla.-based Bluegrass Materials, which launched in 2010 in a deal with Cemex USA. Backed by a New York private equity firm, Lindsay Goldberg LLC, Florida Rock Industries veteran Ted Baker II and business partners pursued a series of targets, topped by former Lafarge North America aggregate production and distribution sites in Georgia, Maryland and South Carolina.