Key shareholder presses Eagle to weigh cement, wallboard business split

Sources: Sachem Head Capital Management LP, New York; CP staff

An investment manager holding just under 9 percent of Eagle Materials common stock, Sachem Head LP, is encouraging shareholders to support two director nominees toward the Dallas-based cement, aggregate, concrete and wallboard producer’s early-August annual meeting. Board representation would enable the firm to act on concerns principals have raised over investor confidence in Eagle Materials’ asset mix.

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Texas producers ride population wave with a nod to valued team members

Sources: Texas Aggregates and Concrete Association, Austin; CP staff

The Texas Aggregates & Concrete Association has launched a campaign to build awareness of the aggregates, concrete, cement and associated industries, while spotlighting employees who make production and delivery possible. #WeRTexas factors population growth of approximately 1,400 people per day and these material figures 10 years out, as measured against present annual shipment levels: 15 million to 50 million more tons of aggregate; 3 million to 10 million more yards of ready mixed; and, 1 million to 3 million more tons of cement. 

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GCC completes $100M, 450M-mt Dacotah mill expansion

Sources: Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua, S.A.B. de C.V., Mexico; CP staff 

GCC of America is ramping up new equipment at its Rapid City, S.D., Dacotah cement plant, where work on a $100 million capacity expansion began in 2016. Upgrades increase annual capacity to 1,167,000 metric tonnes and are expected to reduce variable costs. Overall production suspended during a late-2018 tie-in phase for new equipment has resumed.

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Lehigh earmarks $600M for Indiana mill modernization, rail upgrade

Sources: Lehigh Hanson Inc., Irving, Texas; CP staff

Lehigh Hanson’s most ambitious undertaking to date entails a four-year, $600 million-plus modernization and expansion of the Lehigh Cement Co. Mitchell plant, aimed at increasing capacity from present 662,038 metric-ton-per-year level; lowering energy usage and emissions per ton of finished cement; and, continuing to leverage the southern Indiana site’s limestone riches.

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Sika veteran Gentoso succeeds LafargeHolcim US Cement CEO Stull

Sources: LafargeHolcim Ltd., Zurich; CP staff

Jamie Gentoso has been named LafargeHolcim, US Cement chief executive officer, replacing John Stull, who recently shifted in the same capacity to the Holcim Philippines business. She arrives at the Chicago-based operator with a solid industry grasp, having started her career as Holcim (US) technical service engineer, then serving as Architectural and Engineering market manager with a focus on ASTM C150 and specialty cements, plus fly ash. Gentoso proceeded to Sika Corp., rising to vice president of Concrete ahead of her most recent position, vice president of Sales & Marketing, with New Jersey-based architectural building products manufacturer Construction Specialties. 

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LafargeHolcim looks downstream of core business in Strategy 2022

Sources: LafargeHolcim Ltd., Zurich; CP staff

Coupled with the release of 2017 financials showing moderate year-over-year sales and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) gains, LafargeHolcim outlined a five-year plan to drive profitable growth and simplify the business to deliver resilient returns and attractive value to stakeholders. Strategy 2022 – Building for Growth targets annual net sales growth of 3 to 5 percent and recurring EBITDA of at least 5 percent, and is based on four value drivers:

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Argos USA channels cement kiln-derived CO2 to ready mixed concrete

Sources: CP staff; CarbonCure Technologies, Halifax, N.S.

Argos USA has anchored a five-member consortium targeting a closed loop model of carbon dioxide capture and recycling in cement and concrete production. In an early-2018 demonstration, the company used CO2 from its Calera, Ala., cement plant in commercial concrete produced at its Glenwood, Ga., batch plant. That Atlanta-area ready mixed operation is among nearly 100 sites, primarily in the U.S., equipped with CarbonCure Technologies CO2 storage and injection devices. The CarbonCure process uses the greenhouse gas to promote cement hydration in high to zero slump concrete.

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Paris-leery EPA enlists cement, concrete interests in real pollution reduction

This month’s United Nations (Conference of Parties) COP 23 meeting in Bonn, Germany, will differ much from COP 21, the gathering that spawned the “historic” Paris Climate Accord. Delegates are sure to perpetuate the fretting that accompanied President Donald Trump’s decision to exit an agreement to reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions.

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