NPCA: 2011–12 precast shipments likely even, off slightly from 2010

Source: National Precast Concrete Association, Carmel, Ind.

In advance of final survey data for its annual Operating Performance Report, NPCA is projecting U.S. and Canadian producer members will see a) 2011 shipments about 4 percent below those of the prior year; and, b) no change in market size for the new year. If the 2011 projections hold in data tallies, the industry will report sales volume of $18.5 billion, about 40 percent off a 2006 peak.

In a business-cycle report to members, NPCA President Ty Gable notes, “This is anything but typical. We expect normal cycles of expansion and contraction, but this dive has been deeper, and the climb out is simply going to take longer. If you have survived the last four years and can hold on through 2012, there are signs 2013 and beyond will bring slow growth and opportunities for those precasters who are nimble enough to adapt to a changing construction marketplace. If you’re faster, leaner and greener than you were five years ago, you’re headed in the right direction.”

Among factors that could have a major impact on precast producers’ 2012 business and market prospects, he adds: Congressional action on infrastructure rebuilding and/or a new federal highway funding bill, and a double-dip recession tied to the European debt crisis. Producers will also have to contend with downward pricing pressure on finished products in the face of construction material costs 6 percent higher than early-2011 levels, plus higher employment and operating costs attributable to federal health care legislation changes and new or pending Environmental Protection Agency rules.