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Positive notes on a good year’s end

The industry entered 2014 with limited tailwind. Last year’s cement shipments and concrete output fell a few points from 2012, and prolonged, catastrophic winter weather hampered construction through the end of March. Before the snow melted, a) good market indicators supporting overdue plant and fleet investment were evident; b) one global and two domestic transactions surfaced, altering the top U.S. and Canadian concrete, cement and aggregate producer ranks; c) ready mixed and manufactured-concrete producers embraced new protocols for the LEED v4 era of green building; and, d) mobile device-suited information technology offerings surfaced, inviting the use of big data analytics to lower concrete production and delivery costs.

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Texas producers lead the way

Management and staff optimism resonated in recent visits to Texas precast/prestressed producers, old and new alike. As with many of their neighbors and peer operators, they find much to like about their home turf these days: Business-friendly government, strong investment in public and private transportation infrastructure, plus healthy commercial and residential building levels. 

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Market conditions favor Hanson products business public offering

don-sqThe most recent proposed initial public offering of a business featuring U.S. and Canadian concrete production assets, Votorantim Cementos, was withdrawn with little explanation last fall. As presented by Brazil’s Votorantim Industrial S.A., the IPO encompassed a portfolio of cement and concrete operations in the Americas, Europe and Africa, and had a target value hovering $5 billion.

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Sizing up nano-scale materials

For the third year in a row, we visit a pavement project VCNA Prairie Material helped convert from all asphalt to partial (base slab) or 100-percent roller compacted concrete. More than a routine switch, the Maryhill Cemetery maintenance shop (pages 28-31) marks the commercial debut of RCC Surface Pro, a silica agent emanating from the field of nanotechnology, where particles are measured in billionths of a meter.

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