Martin Marietta Materials, Inc.
10-K on 02/19/2021   Download
SEC Document
SEC Filing
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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C.  20549

 

FORM 10-K

(Mark One)

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020

OR

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from               to                

Commission file number 1-12744

MARTIN MARIETTA MATERIALS, INC.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

North Carolina

 

56-1848578

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

2710 Wycliff Road, Raleigh, North Carolina

 

27607-3033

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

(Zip Code)

 

(919) 781-4550

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

 

Trading Symbol(s)

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock (par value $.01 per share)

 

MLM

 

New York Stock Exchange

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.

 

Yes

No

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act.

 

Yes

No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.

 

Yes

No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).

 

Yes

No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or emerging growth company.  See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer

 

Accelerated filer

Non-accelerated filer

 

Smaller reporting company

 

 

 

Emerging growth company

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).

 

Yes

No

As of June 30, 2020, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, the aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was $11,377,742,588 based on the closing sale price as reported on the New York Stock Exchange.

Indicate the number of shares outstanding of each of the issuer’s classes of common stock on the latest practicable date.

 

Class

 

Outstanding at February 12, 2021

Common Stock, $.01 par value per share

 

62,286,775 shares

 

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

 

Document

 

Parts Into Which Incorporated

Proxy Statement for the Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held May 13, 2021 (Proxy Statement)

 

Part III

 

 

 


 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

PART I

1

 

 

 

ITEM 1.

BUSINESS

1

 

 

 

ITEM 1A.

RISK FACTORS

11

 

 

 

ITEM 1B.

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

21

 

 

 

ITEM 2.

PROPERTIES

21

 

 

 

ITEM 3.

LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

25

 

 

 

ITEM 4.

MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

25

 

 

INFORMATION ABOUT OUR EXECUTIVE OFFICERS

26

 

 

PART II

27

 

 

 

ITEM 5.

MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

27

 

 

 

ITEM 6.

SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

28

 

 

 

ITEM 7.

MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

29

 

 

 

ITEM 7A.

QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

64

 

 

 

ITEM 8.

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

65

 

 

 

ITEM 9.

CHANGES IN AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE

107

 

 

 

ITEM 9A.

CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

107

 

 

 

ITEM 9B.

OTHER INFORMATION

108

 

 

PART III

109

 

 

 

ITEM 10.

DIRECTORS, EXECUTIVE OFFICERS AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

109

 

 

 

ITEM 11.

EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION

109

 

 

 

ITEM 12.

SECURITY OWNERSHIP OF CERTAIN BENEFICIAL OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT AND RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS

109

 

 

 

ITEM 13.

CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED TRANSACTIONS, AND DIRECTOR INDEPENDENCE

109

 

 

 

ITEM 14.

PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTANT FEES AND SERVICES

109

 

PART IV

110

 

 

 

ITEM 15.

EXHIBITS AND FINANCIAL STATEMENT SCHEDULES

110

 

 

 

ITEM 16.

FORM 10-K SUMMARY

115

 

 

SIGNATURES

116

 

 

 

 


Part I    Item 1 – Business

 

PART I

ITEM 1 – BUSINESS

General

Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. (the Company or Martin Marietta) is a natural resource-based building materials company.  The Company supplies aggregates (crushed stone, sand and gravel) through its network of approximately 300 quarries, mines and distribution yards in 27 states, Canada and The Bahamas.  In 2020, the aggregates product gross profit accounted for 68% of the Company’s consolidated total product gross profit.  In the western United States, Martin Marietta also provides cement and downstream products, namely, ready mixed concrete, asphalt and paving services, in markets that are naturally vertically integrated and where the Company has a leading aggregates position.  Specifically, the Company has two cement plants in Texas, and ready mixed concrete and asphalt operations in Texas, Colorado and Wyoming.  Asphalt operations and paving services are exclusively in Colorado.  The Company’s heavy-side building materials are used in infrastructure, nonresidential and residential construction projects.  Aggregates are also used in agricultural, utility and environmental applications and as railroad ballast.  The aggregates, cement, ready mixed concrete and asphalt and paving operations are reported collectively as the “Building Materials Business”.  The Company also operates a Magnesia Specialties business with production facilities in Michigan and Ohio.  The Magnesia Specialties business produces magnesia-based chemical products that are used in industrial, agricultural and environmental applications.  It also produces dolomitic lime sold primarily to customers for steel production and land stabilization.  Magnesia Specialties’ products are shipped to customers domestically and worldwide.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION WITH RESPECT TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE COMPANY’S BUSINESS PRIOR TO 2020, SEE THE INFORMATION APPEARING UNDER THE HEADING “GENERAL” INCLUDED IN PART I, ITEM 1 OF THE COMPANY’S FORM 10-K FOR THE YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2019, WHICH INFORMATION IS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE.

Business Segment Information

The Company conducts its Building Materials Business through two reportable segments, organized by geography: East Group and West Group. The East Group provides aggregates products only. The West Group provides aggregates, cement and downstream products. The top ten states accounted for 87% of the Building Materials Business total revenues in 2020: Texas, Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia, Iowa, Florida, South Carolina, Indiana, Maryland and Nebraska. The Company’s Magnesia Specialties is reported as a separate segment, which includes its magnesia-based chemicals and dolomitic lime businesses.  For more information on the organization and geographic area of the Company’s business segments, see “Note A: Accounting Policies-Organization” and “Note P: Segments” of the “Notes to Financial Statements” of the Company’s consolidated financial statements, which appear in Item 8, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data,” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K (this Form 10-K).

Building Materials Business

The profitability of the Building Materials Business, which serves customers in the construction marketplace, is sensitive to national, regional and local economic conditions and cyclical swings in construction spending, which are in turn affected by fluctuations in levels of public-sector infrastructure funding; interest rates; access to capital markets; and demographic, geographic, employment and population dynamics. The heavy-side construction business, inclusive of much of the Company’s operations, is conducted outdoors. Therefore, erratic weather patterns, seasonal changes, and other weather-related conditions, including precipitation, flooding, hurricanes, snowstorms, extreme temperatures and droughts, can significantly affect production schedules, shipments, costs, efficiencies and profitability.  Generally, the financial results for the first and fourth quarters are subject to the impacts of winter weather, while the second and third quarters are subject to the impacts of heavy precipitation.  

Aggregates are an engineered, granular material consisting of crushed stone, sand and gravel, which is manufactured to specific sizes, grades and chemistry for use primarily in construction applications.  The Company’s operations consist primarily of open pit quarries; however, the Company is the largest operator of underground aggregates mines in the United States with 14 active underground mines located in the East Group.

Cement is the basic agent used to bind aggregates, sand and water in the production of ready mixed concrete.  The Company has a strategic and leading cement position in Texas, with production facilities in Midlothian, Texas, south of Dallas/Fort Worth, and Hunter, Texas, north of San Antonio.  These plants produce Portland and specialty cements, have a combined

 

A World-Class Organization Built for Success

Form 10-K   Page 1

 


Part I    Item 1 – Business

annual clinker capacity of 4.5 million tons, and operated at 80% utilization in 2020.  The Midlothian plant permit allows the Company to expand production by up to 0.8 million additional tons.  In addition to the two production facilities, the Company operates several cement distribution terminals.  Calcium carbonate in the form of limestone is the principal raw material used in the production of cement.  The Company owns more than 600 million tons of limestone reserves adjacent to its cement production plants.  

Ready mixed concrete, a mixture primarily consisting of cement, aggregates, sand and water, is measured in cubic yards and specifically batched or produced for customers’ construction projects and then transported and poured at the project site. The aggregates used for ready mixed concrete is a washed material with limited amounts of fines (such as dirt and clay). The Company operates 120 ready mix plants in Texas, Colorado and Wyoming.  Asphalt is most commonly used in surfacing roads and parking lots and consists of liquid asphalt, or bitumen, the binding medium, and aggregates. Similar to ready mixed concrete, each asphalt batch is produced to customer specifications. The Company’s asphalt and paving operations are exclusively in Colorado. Market dynamics for these downstream product lines include a highly competitive environment and lower barriers to entry compared with aggregates and cement.  

The Building Materials Business markets its products primarily to the construction industry, with 36% of aggregates shipments in 2020 to contractors in connection with highway and other public infrastructure projects and the balance of its shipments primarily to contractors for nonresidential and residential construction projects. The Company also believes exposure to fluctuations in nonresidential and residential, or private-sector, construction spending is lessened by the business’ mix of public sector-related shipments.  

Funding of public infrastructure, the Company’s largest end-use market, is discussed in greater detail under “Building Materials Business’ Key Considerations—Public Infrastructure” in Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,’’ of this Form 10-K.

The Building Materials Business covers a wide geographic area.  The five largest revenue-generating states (Texas, Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia, and Iowa) accounted for 71% of the Building Materials Business’ total revenues by state of destination in 2020.  The Building Materials Business is accordingly affected by the economies in these regions and has been adversely affected in part by recessions and weaknesses in these economies from time to time. In 2020, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic impacted the global economy.  The Company, being considered an essential business, continued to operate but experienced a modest volume decline in aggregates shipments due to a slowdown in overall construction activity.  However, management believes this slowdown represents a delay rather than cancellations of projects.

Natural aggregates sources can be found in relatively homogeneous deposits in certain areas of the United States.  As a general rule, the distance covered by truck shipments from an individual quarry is limited because the cost of transporting processed aggregates to customers is high in relation to the price of the product itself. As described below, the Company’s distribution system mainly uses trucks, but also has access to a waterborne network where the per-mile unit cost of transporting aggregates is much lower.  In addition, acquisitions have enabled the Company to extend its customer base through increased access to rail transportation. Proximity of quarry facilities to customers or to long-haul transportation corridors is an important factor in competition for aggregates businesses.  

The Company’s distribution network moves aggregates materials from domestic and offshore sources via its long-haul rail and waterborne distribution network, to markets where aggregates supply is limited.  The Company’s rail network primarily serves its Texas, Florida, Colorado and Gulf Coast markets while the Company’s locations in The Bahamas and Nova Scotia transport materials via oceangoing ships. The Company’s strategic focus includes expanding inland and offshore capacity and acquiring distribution facilities and port locations to offload transported material.  At December 31, 2020, the Company’s distribution facilities consisted of 84 terminals.  The long-haul distribution network can diversify market risk for locations that engage in long-haul transportation of their aggregates products. The risk of a downturn in one market may be somewhat mitigated by other markets served by the location, particularly where a producing quarry serves a local market and transports products via rail, water and/or truck to be sold in other markets.  As the Company continues to move more aggregates by rail and water, associated internal freight costs are expected to reduce gross margin.  This typically occurs where the Company transports aggregates from a production location to a distribution location, and the customer pays a selling price that includes a freight component.  Margins are negatively affected because the Company typically does not charge the customer a profit associated with the transportation component of the selling price of the materials.  Moreover, the Company’s expansion of its rail-based distribution network, coupled with the extensive use of rail service, increases the Company’s dependence on and exposure to railroad performance, including track congestion, crew availability, railcar availability, locomotive availability, and the ability to renegotiate favorable railroad shipping contracts.  The waterborne distribution network also increases the Company’s exposure to certain risks, including, among other items, meeting minimum tonnage

 

Form 10-K   Page 2

A World-Class Organization Built for Success

 


Part I    Item 1 – Business

requirements of shipping contracts, demurrage costs, fuel costs, ship availability and weather disruptions.  The Company has long-term agreements with shipping companies to provide ships to transport the Company’s aggregates to various coastal ports.

The Company generally acquires contiguous property around existing quarry locations. This property can serve as buffer property or additional mineral reserve capacity, assuming the underlying geology supports economical aggregates mining. In either instance, the acquisition of additional property around an existing quarry allows the expansion of the quarry footprint and extension of quarry life. Some locations having limited reserves may be unable to expand.

A long-term capital focus for the Company, primarily in the midwestern United States due to the nature of its indigenous aggregates supply, is underground limestone aggregates mines. Production costs are generally higher at underground mines than surface quarries since the depth of the aggregates deposits and the access to the reserves result in higher costs related to development, explosives and depreciation costs. However, these locations often possess marketplace transportation advantages that can lead to higher average selling prices than more distant surface quarries.

The construction aggregates industry has been consolidating, and the Company has actively participated in the industry’s consolidation. When acquired, new locations sometimes do not satisfy the Company’s internal safety, maintenance, pit development, or other standards, and may require additional resources before benefits of the acquisitions are fully realized. Industry consolidation slowed several years ago as the number of suitable small- to mid-sized acquisition targets in high-growth markets declined. During that period of fewer acquisition opportunities, the Company focused on investing in internal expansion or efficiency projects in high-growth markets. The number of acquisition opportunities has increased in the last several years as the economy recovered from the protracted recession.  Opportunities include public and large private, family-owned businesses, as well as asset swaps and divestitures from companies executing their strategic plans, rationalizing non-core assets, and repairing financially-constrained balance sheets. The Company’s Board of Directors (the Board of Directors) and management continue to review and monitor the Company’s long-term strategic plans, commonly referred to as SOAR (Strategic Operating Analysis and Review), which include assessing business combinations and arrangements with other companies engaged in similar businesses, increasing the Company’s presence in its core businesses, investing in internal expansion projects in high-growth markets, and pursuing new opportunities related to the Company’s existing markets.  

The Company reports cement and downstream operations within the Building Materials Business’ West Group reportable segment; their results are affected by volatile factors, including fuel costs, operating efficiencies and weather, to a greater extent than the Company’s aggregates operations.  Liquid asphalt and cement serve as key raw materials in the production of hot mix asphalt and ready mixed concrete, respectively.  Therefore, fluctuations in prices for these raw materials directly affect the Company’s operating results.

Environmental and zoning regulations have made it increasingly difficult for the aggregates industry to expand existing quarries and to develop new quarry operations. Although it cannot be predicted what policies will be adopted in the future by federal, state, and local governmental bodies regarding these matters, the Company anticipates that future restrictions will likely make zoning and permitting more difficult, thereby potentially enhancing the value of the Company’s existing mineral reserves.

Management believes its aggregates reserves are sufficient to permit production at present operational levels for the foreseeable future. The Company does not anticipate any significant difficulty in obtaining reserves used for production. The Company’s aggregates reserves average approximately 90 years, based on current production levels. However, certain locations may be subject to more limited reserves and may not be able to expand. Moreover, as noted above, environmental and zoning regulations will likely make it harder for the Company to expand its existing quarries or develop new quarry operations.

The Company generally sells its aggregates, ready mixed concrete and asphalt products upon receipt of customer orders or requests. The Company generally maintains inventories of aggregates products in sufficient quantities to meet the requirements of customers.

Cement

The cement operations of the Building Materials Business produce Portland and specialty cements. Similar to aggregates, cement is used in infrastructure projects, nonresidential and residential construction, and the railroad, agricultural, utility and environmental industries. Consequently, the cement industry is cyclical and dependent on the strength of the construction sector.  

Cement consumption is dependent on the time of year and prevalent weather conditions. According to the Portland Cement Association, nearly two-thirds of U.S. cement consumption occurs in the six months between May and October.  Approximately 70% - 75% of all cement shipments are sent to ready mixed concrete operators. The rest are shipped to

 

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manufacturers of concrete-related products, contractors, materials dealers and oil well/mining/drilling companies, as well as government entities.

Energy accounted for approximately 21% of the cement production cost profile in 2020. Therefore, profitability of cement is affected by changes in energy prices and the available supply of these products.  The Company currently has fixed-price supply contracts for coal but also consumes natural gas, alternative fuel and petroleum coke. Further, profitability of the cement operations is also subject to kiln maintenance, which typically requires a plant to be shut down for a period of time.

The limestone reserves used as a raw material for cement are located on Company-owned property, adjacent to each of the two cement plants.  Management believes that its reserves of limestone are sufficient to permit production at the current operational levels for the foreseeable future.

The cement operations generally deliver its products upon receipt of customer orders or requests.  Inventory for products is generally maintained in sufficient quantities to meet rapid delivery requirements of customers.  

Magnesia Specialties Business

The Magnesia Specialties business produces and sells dolomitic lime from its Woodville, Ohio facility and manufactures magnesia-based chemical products for industrial, agricultural and environmental applications at its Manistee, Michigan facility.  These magnesia-based chemical products have varying uses, including flame retardants, wastewater treatment, pulp and paper production and other environmental applications.  In 2020, 67% of Magnesia Specialties’ total revenues were attributable to chemical products, 32% to lime, and 1% to stone sold as construction materials.

In 2020, 79% of the lime produced in the Magnesia Specialties business was sold to third-party customers, while the remaining 21% was used internally as a raw material in making the business’ chemical products.  Dolomitic lime products sold to external customers are used primarily by the steel industry.  Products used in the steel industry, either directly as dolomitic lime or indirectly as a component of other industrial products, accounted for 34% of the Magnesia Specialties’ total revenues in 2020, attributable primarily to the sale of dolomitic lime products. Accordingly, a portion of the revenues and profitability of the Magnesia Specialties business is affected by production and inventory trends in the steel industry.  These trends are guided by the rate of consumer consumption, the flow of offshore imports, and other economic factors. The dolomitic lime business runs most profitably at 70% or greater steel capacity utilization; domestic capacity utilization was negatively impacted by COVID-19 and averaged 65% in 2020, according to the Federal Reserve.  Steel production in 2020 decreased 18% versus 2019.    

In the Magnesia Specialties business, a significant portion of costs is of a fixed or semi-fixed nature.  The production process requires the use of natural gas, coal and petroleum coke.  Therefore, fluctuations in their pricing directly affect operating results.  To help mitigate this risk, the Magnesia Specialties business has fixed-price agreements for approximately 63% of its 2021 coal, natural gas and petroleum coke needs.  For 2020, the Company’s average cost per MCF (thousand cubic feet) for natural gas decreased 9% versus 2019.  

Given high fixed costs, low capacity utilization can negatively affect the segment’s results from operations. Management expects future organic profit growth to result from increased pricing, efficiency enhancements, rationalization of the current product portfolio and/or further cost reductions.  Management has shifted the strategic focus of the magnesia-based business to specialty chemicals that can be produced at volume levels that support efficient operations.  Accordingly, these products are not as dependent on the steel industry as the dolomitic lime product line.  However, demand for chemicals products in 2020 was negatively impacted by COVID-19.

The principal raw materials used in the Magnesia Specialties business are dolomitic limestone and magnesium-rich brine.  Management believes that its reserves of dolomitic limestone and brine are sufficient to permit production at the current operational levels for the foreseeable future.

Magnesia Specialties generally delivers its products upon receipt of customer orders or requests. Inventory for products is generally maintained in sufficient quantities to meet rapid delivery requirements of customers. A significant portion of the 275,000-ton dolomitic lime capacity from a lime kiln at Woodville, Ohio is committed under a long-term supply contract.

The Magnesia Specialties business is highly dependent on rail transportation, particularly for movement of dolomitic lime from Woodville to Manistee and direct customer shipments of dolomitic lime and magnesia chemicals products from both Woodville and Manistee. The segment can be affected by the specific transportation and other risks and uncertainties outlined under Item 1A, “Risk Factors,” of this Form 10-K.

 

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Patents and Trademarks

As of January 31, 2021, the Company owns, has the right to use, or has pending applications for patents pending or granted by the United States and various countries and trademarks related to its business. The Company believes that its rights under its existing patents, patent applications and trademarks are of value to its operations, but no one patent or trademark or group of patents or trademarks is material to the conduct of the Company’s business as a whole.

Customers

No material part of the business as a whole, or of any segment of the Company, is dependent upon a single customer or upon a few customers. The loss of any single customer would not have a material adverse effect on the segment. The Company’s products are sold principally to commercial customers in private industry. Although large amounts of construction materials are used in public works projects, relatively insignificant sales are made directly to federal, state, county, or municipal governments, or agencies thereof.

Competition

The nature of the Company’s competition varies among its products due to the widely differing amounts of capital necessary to build and maintain production facilities. Crushed stone production from quarries or mines, and sand and gravel production by dredging, is moderately capital intensive. Construction of cement production facilities is highly capital intensive and requires long lead times to complete engineering design, obtain regulatory permits, acquire equipment and construct a plant. Most domestic cement producers are owned by large foreign companies operating in multiple international markets. Many of these producers maintain the capability to import cement from foreign production facilities. Ready mixed concrete production requires relatively small amounts of capital to build a concrete batching plant and acquire delivery trucks. Accordingly, economics can lead to lower barriers to entry in some concrete markets. As a result, depending on the local market, the Company may face competition from small producers as well as large, vertically-integrated companies with facilities in many markets.

The Company operates in a largely-fragmented industry with over 5,000 domestic aggregates producers, including large, public companies and a large number of small, privately-held companies.  Other publicly traded companies among the ten largest U.S. aggregates producers include the following:

 

Cemex S.A.B. de C.V.

 

CRH plc

 

HeidelbergCement AG

 

LafargeHolcim

 

MDU Resources Group, Inc.

 

Summit Materials, Inc.

 

Vulcan Materials Company

Due to the localized nature of the industry resulting from the high cost of transportation relative to the price of the product, the Building Materials Business primarily operates in smaller distinct areas that can vary from one another.

Capacity for cement plants is often stated in terms of “clinker” capacity; clinker is the initial product of cement production. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, United States cement production is widely dispersed, with the top five companies collectively producing approximately 61% of U.S. clinker capacity. An estimated 84% of U.S. clinker capacity is owned by companies headquartered outside of the United States. The Company’s cement operations also compete with imported cement because of the higher value of the product and the existence of major ports or terminals in Texas.

The Company’s ready mixed concrete and asphalt and paving operations are also in markets with numerous operators, large and small.

The Company believes that its ability to transport materials by rail and waterborne vessels has enhanced its ability to compete in the building materials industry.

The Magnesia Specialties business competes with various companies in different geographic and product areas principally on the basis of quality, price, technological advances, and technical support for its products. While the revenues of the Magnesia Specialties business in 2020 were predominantly domestic, a portion was derived from customers located outside the United States.

 

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Environmental and Governmental Regulations

Overview

The Company’s operations are subject to and affected by federal, state, and local laws and regulations relating to zoning, land use, mining, air emissions (including CO2 and other greenhouse gases), water use, allocation and discharges, waste management, noise and dust exposure control, reclamation and other environmental, health and safety, and regulatory matters. Certain of the Company’s operations may from time to time involve the use of substances that are classified as toxic or hazardous within the meaning of these laws and regulations. Environmental operating permits are, or may be, required for certain of the Company’s operations, and such permits are subject to modification, renewal and revocation.

Environmental Compliance and Accruals

The Company regularly monitors and reviews its operations, procedures, and policies for compliance with existing laws and regulations, changes in interpretations of existing laws and enforcement policies, new laws that are adopted, and new laws that the Company anticipates will be adopted that could affect its operations. The Company has a full-time team of environmental engineers and managers that perform these responsibilities. The direct costs of ongoing environmental compliance were approximately $32.8 million in 2020 and $26.0 million in 2019 and are related to the Company’s environmental staff, ongoing monitoring costs for various matters (including those matters disclosed in this Form 10-K), and asset retirement costs. Capitalized costs related to environmental control facilities were approximately $17 million in 2020 and are expected to be approximately $15 million and $18 million in 2021 and 2022, respectively. The Company’s capital expenditures for environmental matters were not material to its results of operations or financial condition in 2020 and 2019. However, the Company’s expenditures for environmental matters generally have increased over time and are likely to increase in the future. Despite the Company’s compliance efforts, risk of environmental liability is inherent in the Company’s businesses, and environmental liabilities could have a material adverse effect on the Company in the future.

Many of the applicable requirements of environmental laws are satisfied by procedures that the Company adopts as best business practices in the ordinary course of its operations. For example, plant equipment that is used to crush aggregates products may, in the ordinary course of operations, have an attached water spray bar that is used to clean the stone. The water spray bar also serves as a dust control mechanism that complies with applicable environmental laws. Moreover, the Company does not separate the portion of the cost, depreciation, and other financial information relating to the water spray bar that is attributable only to environmental purposes, as such an allocation would be arbitrary. The incremental portion of such operating costs that is attributable to environmental compliance rather than best operating practices is impractical to quantify. Accordingly, the Company expenses costs in that category when incurred as operating expenses.

As is the case with others in the cement industry, the Company’s cement operations produce varying quantities of cement kiln dust (CKD). This production by-product consists of fine-grained, solid, highly alkaline material removed from cement kiln exhaust gas by air pollution control devices. Since much of the CKD is unreacted raw materials, it is generally permissible to recycle the CKD back into the production process, and large amounts often are treated in such manner. CKD that is not returned to the production process or sold as a product itself is disposed in landfills. CKD is currently exempted from federal hazardous waste regulations under Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

The environmental accruals recorded by the Company are based on internal studies of the required remediation costs and estimates of potential costs that arise from time to time under federal, state and/or local environmental protection laws. Many of these laws and their attendant regulations are complex, and are subject to challenges and new interpretations by regulators and the courts. In addition, new laws are also adopted from time to time. It is often difficult to accurately and fully quantify the costs to comply with new rules until it is determined to which type of operations they will apply and the manner in which they will be implemented is more accurately defined. This process typically takes years to finalize, and the rules often change significantly from the time they are proposed to the time they are final. The Company typically has several appropriate alternatives available to satisfy compliance requirements, which could range from nominal costs to some alternatives that may be satisfied in conjunction with equipment replacement or expansion that also benefits operating efficiencies or capacities and carry significantly higher costs.

Management believes that its current accrual for environmental costs is reasonable, although those amounts may increase or decrease depending on the impact of applicable rules as they are finalized or amended from time to time and changes in facts and circumstances.  The Company believes that its operations and facilities, both owned or leased, are in substantial compliance with applicable laws and regulations and that any noncompliance is not likely to have a material adverse effect on the Company’s operations or financial condition. See “Legal Proceedings” under Item 3 of this Form 10-K, “Note O:

 

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Commitments and Contingencies” of the “Notes to Financial Statements” of the Company’s consolidated financial statements included under Item 8, “Financial Statements and Supplemental Data,” of this Form 10-K, and the Environmental Regulation and Litigation” section included under Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” of this Form 10-K. However, future events, such as changes in or modified interpretations of existing laws and regulations or enforcement policies, or further investigation or evaluation of the potential health hazards of certain products or business activities, may give rise to additional compliance and other costs that could have a material adverse effect on the Company.

Mine Safety and Land Reclamation

In general, mining, production and distribution facilities for aggregates, cement, ready mixed concrete, and asphalt must comply with air quality, water quality, and other environmental regulations, zoning and special use permitting requirements, applicable mining regulations, and federal health and safety requirements. As the Company locates and acquires new production and distribution facilities, the Company works closely with local authorities during the zoning and permitting processes to design new quarries, mines, production and distribution facilities in such a way as to minimize disturbances. The Company frequently acquires large tracts of land so that quarry, mine, production and distribution facilities can be situated with substantial distance from surrounding property owners. Also, in certain markets the Company’s ability to transport material by rail and water allows it to locate its facilities further away from residential areas. The Company has established policies designed to minimize disturbances to surrounding property owners from its operations.

As is the case with other similarly situated companies, some of the Company’s products contain varying amounts of crystalline silica, a common mineral also known as quartz. Excessive, prolonged inhalation of very small-sized particles of crystalline silica has been associated with lung diseases, including silicosis, and several scientific organizations and some states, such as California, have reported that crystalline silica can cause lung cancer. The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have established occupational thresholds for crystalline silica exposure as respirable dust. The Company monitors occupational exposures at its facilities and implements dust control procedures and/or makes available appropriate respiratory protective equipment to maintain the occupational exposures at or below the appropriate levels. The Company, through safety information sheets and other means, also communicates what it believes to be appropriate warnings and cautions its employees and customers about the risks associated with excessive, prolonged inhalation of mineral dust in general and crystalline silica in particular.

The Company is generally required by state or local laws or pursuant to the terms of an applicable lease to reclaim quarry sites after use. Future reclamation costs are estimated using statutory reclamation requirements and management’s experience and knowledge in the industry, and are discounted to their present value using a credit-adjusted, risk-free interest rate. The future reclamation costs are not offset by potential recoveries. For additional information regarding compliance with legal requirements, see “Note O: Commitments and Contingencies” of the “Notes to Financial Statements” of the Company’s consolidated financial statements included in Item 8, “Financial Statements and Supplemental Data,” of this Form 10-K. The Company performs activities on an ongoing basis, as an integral part of the normal quarrying process, that may reduce the ultimate reclamation obligations. For example, the perimeter and interior walls of an open pit quarry are sloped and benched as they are developed to prevent erosion and provide stabilization. This sloping and benching meets dual objectives -- safety regulations required by MSHA for ongoing operations as well as final reclamation requirements. Therefore, these types of activities are included in normal operating costs and are not a part of the asset retirement obligation. Historically, the Company has not incurred substantial reclamation costs in connection with the closing of quarries. Reclaimed quarry sites owned by the Company are from time to time available for sale, typically for commercial development or use as reservoirs.

Greenhouse Gases and Climate Change

Amid concerns that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are contributing to climate change, a number of governmental bodies, including the U.S. Congress and various U.S. states, have proposed, enacted or are contemplating legislative and regulatory changes to mitigate or address the potential impacts of climate change, including provisions for emissions reporting or reductions, the use of alternative fuels, carbon credits (such as a "cap and trade" system) and a carbon tax. For example, in the United States, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) promulgated a rule mandating that sources considered to be large emitters of GHGs report those emissions. The manufacturing operations of the Company’s Magnesia Specialties business release carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxides during the production of lime, magnesium oxide and hydroxide products. The Company’s two magnesia-based chemicals facilities, as well as its two cement plants in Texas, file annual reports of their GHG emissions in accordance with the USEPA reporting rule. The primary operations of the Company, however, including its aggregates, ready mixed concrete and asphalt and paving product lines, are not major sources of GHG

 

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emissions. In fact, most of the GHG emissions from aggregates plant operations are tailpipe emissions from mobile sources, such as heavy construction and earth-moving equipment.

In 2010, the USEPA also issued a GHG emissions permitting rule, referred to as the “Tailoring Rule,” which may require some industrial facilities to obtain permits for GHG emissions under the U.S. Clean Air Act’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V operating permit programs. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2014 that the USEPA exceeded its statutory authority in issuing the Tailoring Rule but upheld the Best Available Control Technology (BACT) requirements for GHGs emitted by sources already subject to PSD or Title V permitting requirements for other pollutants. Both of the Company’s cement plants, as well as its Magnesia Specialties plants, hold Title V Permits, and each (other than the Manistee, Michigan facility) is also subject to PSD requirements. With the change of the U.S. presidential administration, it is too early to determine whether the USEPA will proceed with revisions of the Tailoring Rule or proceed otherwise. It is also unknown how the USEPA may revise BACT requirements. In fact, although several large-scale projects for carbon capture are in the development phase, no technologies or methods of operation for reducing or capturing GHGs have been proven successful in large scale applications, other than improvements in fuel efficiency. Thus, if future modifications to our facilities require PSD review for other pollutants, GHG BACT requirements could be triggered and may require significant additional costs. However, it is currently impossible to estimate the cost of any such future requirements.

U.S. President Biden has made climate change a central focus of his administration.  In addition to re-entering the Paris Agreement on January 27, 2021, President Biden issued a pair of executive orders and a presidential memorandum making the climate change central to U.S. Policy and setting out several administrative priorities and undertakings.  Although it is still too early to determine the actions the federal governmental will take to implement the orders, or the full scope, timing or ramifications of such measures, it is clear that the administration intends to make a significant and sweeping push on the climate front and, like other signatories to the Paris Agreement, intends to pursue a goal of a Net Zero GHG by 2050. The orders, combined with democratic control of both chambers of the 117th U.S. Congress, suggest that additional executive and/or legislative action is likely, although the timing and scope of such action is unclear. It also seems probable that the USEPA and other agencies will likely use their rule-making authority and procurement decisions to further address climate change. Various states where the Company has operations are considering climate change initiatives as well, and the Company may be subject to state regulations in addition to any federal laws and rules that are passed.

If and when the USEPA issues new regulations and/or Congress passes additional legislation on GHGs, the Woodville, Ohio and Manistee, Michigan Magnesia Specialties operations, as well as the Company’s two cement plants in Texas, which release CO2 in certain of their processes and use carbon-based fuels for power equipment, kilns and the Company’s mobile fleet, will likely be subject to any new requirements. The Company anticipates that any increased operating costs or taxes relating to GHG emission limitations at the Woodville or cement operations facilities would be passed on to customers. The magnesium oxide products produced at the Manistee operation, however, compete against other products that, due to the form and/or structure of the source material, require less energy in the calcination process, resulting in the generation of fewer GHGs per ton of production. Therefore, the Manistee facility may be required to absorb additional costs due to the regulation of GHG emissions in order to remain competitive in pricing in that market. In addition, the cement produced by the Company’s two plants in Texas, like other U.S. operators, is subject to strict limits set by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and other agencies, including those relating to “clinker substitution”, or the replacement of ground clinker in cement with alternate materials such as pozzolan, slag and fly ash, which has implications for the Company’s fuel use and efforts to reduce GHG emissions from its operations.  For example, various industry associations are engaged in an effort to ask the U.S. DOT and other agencies to revise their standards allowing for greater rates of clinker substitution, similar to the rates currently permitted for European cement producers.  If higher rates of substitution and blending are, in fact, permitted in the future, the result is likely to be both reduced clinker and power consumption in cement production, which would, in turn, reduce GHGs emitted in connection with each ton of cement produced in the U.S.

In light of the various regulatory uncertainties, the Company at this time cannot reasonably predict what the costs of any future compliance requirements may be. Nonetheless, the Company does not believe it will have a material adverse effect on the financial condition or results of the operations of either the Magnesia Specialties business or Building Materials Business. The Company continues to monitor GHG regulations and legislation and its potential impact on the Company’s cement business, financial condition and product demand.

In addition to impacts from increased regulation, climate change may result in physical and financial impacts that could have adverse effects on the Company’s operations or financial condition. Physical impacts may include disruptions in production and/or regional supply or product distribution networks due to major storm events, shifts in regional rainfall and temperature patterns and intensities, as well as flooding from sea level changes. In addition, production and shipment levels for the Building Materials Business correlate with general construction activity, which occurs outdoors and, as a result, is affected by erratic weather patterns, seasonal changes and other unusual or unexpected weather-related conditions, which

 

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can significantly affect that business. Excessive rainfall and other severe weather jeopardize production, shipments and profitability in all markets served by the Company. In addition, climate and inclement weather can reduce the useful life of an asset. In particular, the Company’s operations in the southeastern and Gulf Coast regions of the United States and The Bahamas are at risk for hurricane activity, most notably in August, September and October. The last few years brought an unprecedented amount of precipitation to the United States and particularly to Texas and the southeastern United States, notably the Carolinas, Florida and Georgia, where it impacted the Company’s facilities.

The Company’s businesses also are dependent on reliable sources of electricity and fuels. The Company could incur increased costs or disruptions in its operations if climate change regulation or severe weather impacts the price or availability of electricity or fuels or other materials used in its operations. These and other climate-related risks also could impact the Company’s customers, such as a downturn in the construction sector, which could lead to reduced demand for the Company’s products. The Company may not be able to pass on to its customers all the costs relating to these risks.

Notwithstanding the foregoing risks and uncertainties relating to climate change, there may also be opportunities for the Company to increase its business or revenues. For example, warm and/or moderate temperatures in March and November allow the construction season to start earlier and end later, respectively, which could have meaningful positive impacts on the Company’s first- and fourth-quarter results, respectively. In addition, the Company’s magnesium hydroxide products are used to increase fuel efficiency in various industries, including both coal- and gas-fired electricity generation, which has a direct impact on reducing energy use and GHG emissions by more GHG-intense companies. Finally, the desire for sustainable building solutions has led to greater recognition of the benefits of concrete construction in the effort to move to a circular economy thorough innovative products, longevity and recyclability, and increased demand for green construction projects would have a direct impact on the Company’s cement and concrete business.

In an effort to mitigate the risks to the Company associated with GHG emissions while ensuring and improving financial sustainability, the Company has adopted a corporate-wide management strategy that has resulted in multiple operating initiatives to implement or evaluate GHG reduction processes and technologies that also improve operational efficiencies, including: using alternative fuels such as biodiesel; reducing overall fuel use by converting from quarry trucks to conveyor belt systems; right-sizing quarry trucks to marry the appropriately sized truck with the size of production to reduce the number of required trips; replacing older railcars with more efficient, high-capacity models that reduce the number of required trips; adding rail capacity in lieu of truck movements; and installing emissions monitoring equipment and real-time fleet management software. For example, in 2015, the Company’s Midlothian cement plant was recognized by the USEPA as a high performing, energy efficient facility following investments in innovative air pollution control technologies and usage of alternative fuels.

Land Management

The Company owns approximately 140,000 acres of land, the vast majority of which is used in connection with active facilities. The Company regularly reviews its land holdings to determine their highest and best use based on its management expertise, and sell or develop for sale surplus property. Land holdings that do not have economically recoverable reserves for current or future mining or are otherwise not in locations that complement the Company’s operating facilities are considered as candidates for sale.

Human Capital Resources  

As of January 31, 2021, the Company has approximately 8,700 employees, of which approximately 6,600 are hourly employees and approximately 2,100 are salaried employees. Included among these employees are nearly 900 hourly employees represented by labor unions (10.3% of the Company’s employees). Of such amount, 9.7% of the Building Materials Business’ hourly employees are members of a labor union and 100% of the Magnesia Specialties segment’s hourly employees are represented by labor unions. The Company’s principal union contracts for the Magnesia Specialties business cover employees at the Manistee, Michigan, magnesia-based chemicals plant and the Woodville, Ohio, lime plant. The Woodville and Manistee collective bargaining agreements expire June 2022 and August 2023, respectively. The Company believes it has good relations with its employees, including its unionized employees. While the Company’s management does not expect material difficulties in renewing these labor contracts, there can be no assurance that a successor agreement will be reached at any of these locations.

Management believes the Company’s success depends on its ability to attract, develop and retain key personnel. None of Martin Marietta’s accomplishments, and nothing it has achieved, would be possible without its employees; the people who both drive the work and are most affected by it. These individuals are the heart of Martin Marietta. The Company’s management oversees various employee initiatives to foster and improve its employees and the Management Development and Compensation Committee regularly reviews the compensation program to achieve those objectives.

 

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Health and safety in the workplace is one of the Company’s core values. The Guardian Angel safety program provides that every employee has the right, and the obligation, to stop any unsafe condition and that zero safety incidents is achievable. It includes the concept that every employee acts as a wingman for other employees, to observe and act on any situation that potentially creates unsafe circumstances. The companywide safety performance, inclusive of our more recently acquired operations, continues to deliver near or better than world-class safety levels. In 2020, 90% of the Company’s business units worked without a reportable incident and 99% of its business units worked without a lost-time incident, achieving a world-class lost-time incident rate for the fourth consecutive year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of keeping the Company’s employees safe and healthy. In response to the pandemic, the Company has taken actions aligned with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to implement robust protocols to protect its workforce so that they can safely perform their jobs.

The Company established a new employer brand in 2019 — ONE — that reflects the thoughts, feelings and hearts of employees at every level of Martin Marietta. This included a standard approach to safety mentoring that ensures every employee has the knowledge and resources needed to complete their work safely and efficiently. The Company also established a World Class Task Force, whose mission is to improve Martin Marietta and is fostering a level of communication never before seen at the Company. In 2020, the Company launched an Inclusion and Engagement Steering Committee, comprised of diverse employees across the Company. The Company has taken these steps to better allow it to grow responsibly and encourage employee engagement.

Available Information

The Company maintains an internet address at www.martinmarietta.com. The Company makes available free of charge through its Internet website its Annual Report on Form 10‑K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10‑Q, Current Reports on Form 8‑K, and amendments to those reports, if any, filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (Exchange Act). These reports and any amendments are accessed via the Company’s website through a link with the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval (EDGAR) system maintained by the Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC) at www.sec.gov. Accordingly, the Company’s referenced reports and any amendments are made available as soon as reasonably practicable after the Company electronically files such material with, or furnishes it to, the SEC, once EDGAR places such material in its database.

The Company has adopted a Code of Ethical Business Conduct that applies to all of its Board of Directors, officers and employees. The Company’s code of ethics is available on the Company’s website at www.martinmarietta.com. The Company will disclose on its Internet website any waivers of or amendments to its code of ethics as it applies to its directors and executive officers.

The Company has adopted a set of Corporate Governance Guidelines to address matters of fundamental importance relating to the corporate governance of the Company, including director qualifications and responsibilities, responsibilities of key board committees, director compensation and similar matters. Each of the Audit Committee, the Management Development and Compensation Committee, and the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee of the Board of Directors has adopted a written charter addressing various matters of importance relating to each committee, including the committee’s purposes and responsibilities, an annual performance evaluation of each committee and similar matters. These Corporate Governance Guidelines, and the charters of each of these committees, are available on the Company’s website at www.martinmarietta.com.

The Company’s Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer are required to file with the SEC each quarter and each year certifications regarding the quality of the Company’s public disclosure of its financial condition. The annual certifications are included as exhibits to this Form 10‑K. The Company’s Chief Executive Officer is also required to certify to the New York Stock Exchange each year that he is not aware of any violation by the Company of the New York Stock Exchange corporate governance listing standards.

 

 

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Part I    Item 1A – Risk Factors

 

ITEM 1A – RISK FACTORS

An investment in Martin Marietta common stock or debt securities involves risks and uncertainties. You should consider the following factors carefully, in addition to the other information contained in this Form 10-K, before deciding to purchase or otherwise trade the Company’s securities.

This Form 10-K and other written reports and oral statements made from time to time by the Company contain statements that, to the extent they are not recitations of historical fact, constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities law. Investors are cautioned that all forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, and are based on assumptions that the Company believes in good faith are reasonable, but which may be materially different from actual results. Investors can identify these statements by the fact that they do not relate only to historic or current facts. The words “may,” “will,” “could,” “should,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “intend,” “outlook,” “plan,” “project,” “scheduled,” and similar expressions in connection with future events or future operating or financial performance are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Any or all of the Company’s forward-looking statements in this Form 10‑K and in other publications may turn out to be wrong.

Statements and assumptions on future revenues, income and cash flows, performance, economic trends, the outcome of litigation, regulatory compliance, and environmental remediation cost estimates are examples of forward-looking statements. Numerous factors, including potentially the risk factors described in this section, could affect our forward-looking statements and actual performance.

Investors are also cautioned that it is not possible to predict or identify all such factors. Consequently, the reader should not consider any such list to be a complete statement of all potential risks or uncertainties. Other factors besides those listed may also adversely affect the Company and may be material to the Company. The Company has listed the known material risks it considers relevant in evaluating the Company and its operations. The forward-looking statements in this document are intended to be subject to the safe harbor protection provided by Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Exchange Act. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date hereof based on management’s current expectations, and the Company does not undertake an obligation to update such statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise, other than as required by law.

For a discussion identifying some important factors that could cause actual results to vary materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements, see the factors listed below, along with the discussion of “Competition” under Item 1 of this Form 10-K, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” under Item 7 of this Form 10-K, and “Note A: Accounting Policies” and “Note O: Commitments and Contingencies” of the “Notes to Financial Statements” of the Company’s consolidated financial statements included under Item 8, “Financial Statements and Supplemental Data,” of this Form 10-K.

Industry and COVID-19 Risk Factors

Our business is cyclical and depends on activity within the construction industry

Economic and political uncertainty can impede growth in the markets in which we operate. Demand for our products, particularly in the private nonresidential and residential construction markets, could decline if companies and consumers are unable to obtain credit for construction projects or if an economic slowdown causes delays or cancellations of capital projects. State and federal budget issues may also hurt the funding available for infrastructure spending. The lack of available credit may limit the ability of states to issue bonds to finance construction projects. As a result of these issues, several of our top revenue-generating states, from time-to-time, stop bidding or slow bid projects in their transportation departments.

We sell most of our aggregates (our primary business) and our cement products, to the construction industry, therefore our results depend on that industry’s strength. Since our businesses depend on construction spending, which can be cyclical, our profits are sensitive to national, regional and local economic conditions and the intensity of the underlying spending on aggregates and cement products. Construction spending is affected by economic conditions, changes in interest rates, demographic and population shifts, and changes in construction spending by federal, state and local governments. If economic conditions change, a recession in the construction industry may occur and affect the demand for our products. The recession of the late 2000s and early 2010s (the Great Recession) was an example, and our shipment volumes were significantly reduced.  Construction spending can also be disrupted by terrorist activity and armed conflicts.

While our business operations cover a wide geographic area, our earnings depend on the strength of the local economies in which we operate because of the high cost to transport our products relative to their selling price.  If economic conditions

 

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and construction spending decline significantly in one or more areas, particularly in the Building Materials Business’ top five revenue-generating states of Texas, Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia and Iowa, our profitability will decrease. We experienced this situation during the Great Recession.

The Great Recession resulted in large declines in shipments of aggregates products in our industry. Subsequent to the Great Recession and until the impact from COVID-19 beginning in the first quarter of 2020, we experienced slow-but-steady construction growth that coincided with the longest economic recovery in United States history.  

While historical spending on public infrastructure projects has been, comparatively, more stable as governmental appropriations and expenditures are typically less interest rate-sensitive than private sector spending, we experienced a slight retraction in aggregates shipments to the infrastructure market after uncertainty regarding the passage of the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014. Contractors were not able to get any certainty on the availability of federal infrastructure funding until late 2015 with the enactment of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.

Our Building Materials Business is seasonal and subject to the weather, which can significantly impact operations

Since the heavy-side construction business is conducted outdoors, erratic weather patterns, seasonal changes and other weather-related conditions affect our business. Adverse weather conditions, including hurricanes and tropical storms, cold weather, snow and heavy or sustained rainfall, reduce construction activity, restrict the demand for our products and impede our ability to efficiently transport material. Adverse weather conditions also increase our costs and reduce our production output as a result of power loss, needed plant and equipment repairs, time required to remove water from flooded operations and similar events. Severe drought conditions can restrict available water supplies and restrict production. Production and shipment levels of the Building Materials Business’ products follow activity in the construction industry, which typically are strongest in the spring, summer and fall. Because of the weather’s effect on the construction industry’s activity, the production and shipment levels for the Company’s Building Materials Business, including all of its aggregates-related downstream operations, vary by quarter. The second and third quarters are generally subject to heavy precipitation, and thus are more profitable if precipitation is lighter, while the first and fourth quarters are subject to the impacts of winter weather, and thus are generally the least profitable. The Company’s operations in the southeastern and Gulf Coast regions of the United States and The Bahamas are at risk for hurricane activity, most notably in August, September and October.

Our businesses could be adversely affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, or any other outbreak of disease, epidemic or pandemic, or similar public health threat, or fear of such an event and its related economic and societal response

Our businesses could be negatively impacted by the widespread outbreak of an illness or other communicable disease, or any other public health crisis that results in economic and trade disruptions. In or around December 2019, COVID-19 was initially reported. Four months later, in March 2020, the World Health Organization declared it a global pandemic. The proliferation of COVID-19 cases in the United States, and the extent that geography of outbreaks primarily matches the regions in which the Company’s Building Materials Business principally operates, in combination with the related governmental orders limiting individuals’ movements and social gatherings, as well as requiring many businesses to close for an undetermined period of time, are negatively impacting economic activity, consumer confidence and discretionary spending, and overall market conditions. Further, COVID-19 could continue to negatively affect the health of our employees, employee productivity, customer purchasing patterns and fulfillment of purchase orders, availability of supplies, pricing for raw materials, and the ability to transport materials via the Company’s distribution network. While our operations have been designated as “essential” under applicable government orders otherwise restricting business activities to prevent further outbreak of COVID-19, and accordingly have been permitted to continue to operate during the pendency of these orders, it is possible that they may not continue to be so treated under future government orders, or, even if so treated, site-specific health and safety concerns might otherwise require certain of the Company’s operations to be halted for some period of time. We are monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on our operations and on our product demand. Due to economic uncertainty related to COVID-19, contractors and customers may delay advancing, or ultimately cancel, building projects. In addition, reduced travel due to remote working and stay-at-home practices, including as a result of governmental orders restricting activity, may continue to negatively impact fuel tax revenues that fund highway projects.  While we do not currently expect that the virus will have a material adverse effect on the Company’s liquidity, we are unable to accurately and fully predict the impact that COVID-19 will have on the results of operations due to various uncertainties, including the ultimate geographic spread of the virus, the severity of the disease, the duration of the outbreak, actions that may be taken by governmental authorities and

 

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other third-parties in response to COVID-19 and the timing and pace of any economic recovery as COVID-19 impacts ultimately abate.  

Competition and Growth Risk Factors

Our Building Materials Business depends on the availability of quality aggregates reserves or deposits and our ability to mine them economically

Our challenge is to find quality aggregates deposits that we can mine economically, with appropriate permits, near either growing markets or long-haul transportation corridors that economically serve applicable markets. As communities have grown, they have settled in and around attractive quarrying locations and have imposed restrictions on mining. We try to meet this challenge by identifying and permitting sites prior to economic expansion, buying more land around our existing quarries to increase our mineral reserves, developing underground mines and developing a distribution network that transports aggregates products by various methods, including rail and water. While our distribution network allows us to transport our products longer distances than would normally be considered economical, we can give no assurances that we will be successful at this strategy.

Our businesses face many competitors

Our businesses have many competitors, some of whom are bigger and have more resources than we do. Some of our competitors operate on a worldwide basis. Our results are affected by the number of competitors in a market, the production capacity that a particular market can accommodate, the pricing practices of other competitors and the entry of new competitors in a market. We also face competition for some of our products from alternative products. For example, our Magnesia Specialties business may compete with other chemical products that could be used instead of our magnesia-based products. As other examples, our aggregates, ready mixed concrete, and asphalt and paving businesses may compete with recycled asphalt and concrete products that could be used instead of new products and our cement operations may compete with international competitors who are importing products into the United States from jurisdictions with lower production and regulatory costs.

Our future growth may depend in part on acquiring other businesses in our industry, and we may acquire businesses by paying all or in part with shares of our common stock

We expect to continue to grow, in part, by acquiring other businesses. In the past, we have made acquisitions to strengthen our existing locations, expand our operations and enter new geographic markets. We will continue to pursue selective acquisitions, joint ventures or other business arrangements we believe will help our Company. However, the continued success of our acquisition program will depend on our ability to find and buy other attractive businesses at an appropriate price and our ability to integrate acquired businesses into our existing operations. We cannot assume there will continue to be attractive acquisition opportunities for sale at reasonable prices that we can successfully integrate into our operations.

We may decide to pay all or part of the purchase price of any future acquisition with shares of our common stock. We may also use our stock to make strategic investments in other companies to complement and expand our operations. If we use our common stock in this way, the ownership interests of our existing shareholders at that time will be diluted and the price of our stock could decline. We operate our businesses with the objective of maximizing long-term shareholder return.

Our integration of the acquisition or business combination with other businesses may not be as successful as projected

We have a successful history of business combinations and integration of these businesses into our heritage operations. However, in connection with the integration of any other business that we acquire, there is a risk that we will not be able to achieve such integration in a successful manner or on the time schedule we have projected or in a way that will achieve the level of synergies, cost savings or operating efficiencies we forecast from the acquisition.

Any other significant business acquisition or combination we might choose to undertake may require that we devote significant management attention and resources to preparing for and then integrating our business practices and operations. Based on our history, we believe we would be successful in this integration process. Nevertheless, we may fail to realize some of the anticipated benefits of any potential acquisition or other business combination that we pursue in the future, if the

 

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integration process takes longer than expected or is more costly than expected. Potential difficulties we may encounter in the integration process include:

 

the inability to successfully combine operations in a manner that permits us to achieve the cost savings and revenue synergies anticipated to result from the proposed acquisition or business combination, which would result in the anticipated benefits of the acquisition or business combination not being realized partly or wholly in the time frame currently anticipated or at all;

 

lost sales and customers as a result of certain customers of either the Company or former customers of the acquired or combined company deciding not to do business with the Company;

 

complexities associated with managing the combined operations;

 

integrating personnel;

 

creation of uniform standards, internal controls, procedures, policies and information systems;

 

potential unknown liabilities and unforeseen increased expenses, delays or regulatory issues associated with integrating the remaining operations; and

 

performance shortfalls at business units as a result of the diversion of management attention caused by completing the remaining integration of the operations.

Our acquisitions could harm our results of operations

In pursuing our business strategy, we conduct discussions, evaluate opportunities and enter into acquisition agreements. Acquisitions involve significant challenges and risks, including risks that:

 

we may not realize a satisfactory return on our investment;

 

we may not be able to retain key personnel of the acquired business;

 

we may experience difficulty in integrating new employees, business systems and technology;

 

our due diligence process may not identify compliance issues or other liabilities that are in existence at the time of our acquisition;

 

we may not be able to bring the acquired business up to our expected levels of safety standards as soon as anticipated;

 

we may have difficulty entering into new geographic markets in which we are not experienced; or

 

we may be unable to retain the customers and partners of acquired businesses following the acquisition.

Our cement and Magnesia Specialties businesses may become capacity-constrained

If our cement or Magnesia Specialties businesses becomes capacity-constrained, we may be unable to timely satisfy the demand for some of our products, and any resulting changes in customers would introduce volatility to the earnings of these segments. We can address capacity needs by enhancing our manufacturing productivity, increasing the operational availability of equipment, reducing machinery down time and extending machinery useful life. Future demand for our products may require us to expand our manufacturing capacity further, particularly through the purchase of additional manufacturing equipment. However, we may not be able to increase our capacity in time to satisfy increases in demand that may occur from time to time. Capacity constraints may prevent us from satisfying customer orders and result in a loss of sales to competitors that are not capacity-constrained. In addition, we may suffer excess capacity if we increase our capacity to meet actual or anticipated demand and that demand decreases or does not materialize. While we are permitted to expand production by up to 0.8 million additional tons at our Midlothian cement plant, it could take us a significant period of time before such production expansion could come to fruition.

Our cement business could suffer if cement imports from other countries significantly increase or are sold in the U.S. in violation of U.S. fair trade laws

In the past, the cement industry has obtained antidumping orders imposing duties on imports of cement and clinker from other countries that violated U.S. fair trade laws. Currently, an antidumping order against cement and clinker from Japan is set to expire but is under review for extension by the Federal Trade Commission. As has always been the case, cement operators with import facilities can purchase cement from other countries, such as those in Latin America and Asia, which could compete with domestic producers. In addition, if environmental regulations increase the costs of domestic producers compared to foreign producers that are not subject to similar regulations, imported cement could achieve a significant cost

 

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advantage over domestically produced cement. An influx of cement or clinker products from countries not subject to antidumping orders, or sales of imported cement or clinker in violation of U.S. fair trade laws, could adversely affect our cement product line.

Economic, Political and Legal Risk Factors

Changes in legal requirements and governmental policies concerning zoning, land use, the environment, health and safety and other areas of the law, as well as litigation relating to these matters, affect our businesses. Our operations expose us to the risk of material environmental liabilities

Many federal, state and local laws and regulations relating to zoning, land use, air emissions (including carbon dioxide and other GHGs), water use, allocation and discharges, waste management, noise and dust control, mining, reclamation and other environmental, health and safety matters govern our operations. Some of our operations require permits, which may impose additional operating standards, and are subject to modification, renewal and revocation. Certain of our operations may from time to time involve the use of substances that are classified as toxic or hazardous within the meaning of these laws and regulations. Despite our extensive efforts to remain in strict compliance at all times with all applicable laws and regulations, the risk of liabilities, particularly environmental liabilities, is inherent in the operation of our businesses. These potential liabilities could result in material costs, including for fines or personal injury or damages claims, which could have an adverse impact on our operations and profitability.

Future events, including changes in existing laws or regulations or enforcement policies, or further investigation or evaluation of the potential health hazards of some of our products or business activities may result in additional or unanticipated compliance and other costs. We could be required to invest in preventive or remedial action, like pollution control facilities, which could be substantial or which could result in restrictions on our operations or delays in obtaining required permits or other approvals.

Our operations are subject to manufacturing, operating and handling risks associated with the products we produce and the products we use in our operations, including the related storage and transportation of raw materials, explosives, products, hazardous substances and wastes. We are exposed to hazards including storage tank leaks, explosions, discharges or releases of hazardous substances, exposure to dust, and the operation of mobile equipment and manufacturing machinery.

These risks can subject us to potentially significant liabilities relating to personal injury or death, or property damage, and may result in civil or criminal penalties, which could hurt our productivity or profitability. For example, from time to time we investigate and remediate environmental contamination relating to our prior or current operations, as well as operations we have acquired from others, and in some cases we have been or could be named as a defendant in litigation brought by governmental agencies or private parties.

We are involved from time to time in litigation and claims arising from our operations. While we do not believe the outcome of pending or threatened litigation will have a material adverse effect on our operations or our financial condition, an unexpected and material adverse outcome in a pending or future legal action could potentially have a negative effect on our Company.

Climate change and related legislation or regulations may adversely impact our business, including potential physical and financial impacts

Amid concerns that GHG emissions are contributing to climate change, a number of governmental bodies, including the U.S. Congress and various U.S. states, have proposed, enacted or are contemplating legislative and regulatory changes to mitigate or address the potential impacts of climate change, including provisions for emissions reductions or the use of alternative fuels, carbon credits (such as a "cap and trade" system) and a carbon tax. For example, in the U.S., the USEPA promulgated a mandatory reporting rule covering GHG emissions from sources considered to be large emitters. The USEPA has also promulgated a GHG emissions permitting rule, referred to as the Tailoring Rule, which may require some industrial facilities to obtain operating permits for GHG emissions under the U.S. Clean Air Act. Although the U.S. Supreme Court subsequently ruled in June 2014 that the USEPA exceeded its statutory authority in issuing the Tailoring Rule but upheld the BACT requirements for GHGs emitted by sources that already require Title V operating permits or are subject to PSD requirements for other pollutants. With the change of the U.S. presidential administration, it is too early to tell whether the USEPA will proceed with revisions of the Tailoring Rule or proceed in a different direction, nor is it known how the USEPA may revise the BACT requirements. If future modifications to our Magnesia Specialties or cement facilities require PSD review for other pollutants, GHG permitting requirements may also be triggered, which could require us to incur significant additional costs. It is not possible, however, to estimate the cost of any future requirements at this time.

 

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U.S. President Biden has made climate change a central focus of his administration.  In addition to reentering the Paris Agreement, on January 27, 2021, President Biden issued a pair of executive orders and a presidential memorandum making the climate change central to U.S. Policy and setting out several administrative priorities and undertakings.  Although it is still too early to determine the actions the federal governmental will take to implement the orders, or the full scope, timing or ramifications of such measures, it is clear that the administration intends to make a significant and sweeping push on the climate front and, like other signatories to the Paris Agreement, intends to pursue a goal of a Net Zero GHG by 2050.  The orders, combined with democratic control of both chambers of the U.S. Congress, suggest that additional executive and/or legislative action is likely, although the timing and scope of such action is unclear. Additionally, it seems probable that the USEPA and other agencies will likely use their rule-making authority and procurement decisions to further address climate change. Various states where we have operations are considering climate change initiatives as well, and we may be subject to state regulations in addition to any federal laws and rules that are passed.  In light of the various regulatory uncertainties, we cannot at this time reasonably predict what the costs of any future compliance requirements may be, but we do not believe it will have a material adverse effect on the financial condition or results of the operations of either the Magnesia Specialties business or Building Materials Business. We continue to monitor GHG regulations and legislation and its potential impact on our cement business, financial condition and product demand.

Although our aggregates, ready mixed concrete and asphalt and paving operations are not major sources of GHG emissions, any additional regulatory restrictions on emissions of GHGs imposed by the USEPA will likely impact our magnesia-based chemicals operations in Woodville, Ohio, and Manistee, Michigan, as well as our two cement plants in Texas, each of which file annual reports of GHG emissions as required by the USEPA reporting rule. However, it is currently impossible to estimate the cost of any such future requirements at this time. In addition, we may not be able to recover any increased operating costs or taxes relating to GHG emission limitations at those plants from our customers in order to remain competitive in pricing in the relevant markets.

In addition to impacts from increased GHG and other climate-related regulation, climate change may result in physical and financial impacts that could have adverse effects on our operations or financial condition. Given the nature of our operations, physical impacts may include disruptions in production and/or regional supply or product distribution networks due to major storm events, shifts in regional rainfall and temperature patterns and intensities, as well as flooding from sea level changes. In addition, production and shipment levels for the Building Materials Business correlate with general construction activity, most of which occurs outdoors and, as a result, is affected by erratic weather patterns, seasonal changes and other unusual or unexpected weather-related conditions, which can significantly affect that business. Excessive rainfall and other severe weather events also jeopardize production, shipments and profitability in all markets served by our operations. In particular, our operations in the southeastern and Gulf Coast regions of the United States and The Bahamas are at risk for hurricane activity, most notably in August, September and October. In addition, climate and inclement weather can reduce the useful life of an asset.

Our businesses also are dependent on reliable sources of electricity and fuels. We could incur increased costs or disruptions in our operations if climate change legislation and regulation or severe weather impacts the price or availability of purchased electricity or fuels or other materials used in our operations. These and other climate-related risks also could impact our customers, such as a downturn in the construction sector, which could lead to reduced demand for our products. We may not be able to pass on to our customers all the costs related to mitigating these risks.

The overall impacts of climate change on our operations and the Company are highly uncertain and difficult to estimate. However, climate change legislation and regulation concerning GHGs could have a material adverse effect on our future financial position, results of operations or cash flows.

Our business is dependent on funding from a combination of federal, state and local sources

Our products are used in public infrastructure projects, which include the construction, maintenance and improvement of highways, streets, roads, bridges, schools and similar projects. Accordingly, our business is dependent on the level of federal, state, and local spending on these projects. The visibility into future federal infrastructure funding was clarified and stabilized to some extent in 2015 with the passage of the current federal highway bill, the FAST Act, which reauthorized federal highway and transportation funding programs. The FAST Act was extended for one year and now is set to expire September 30, 2021.  If a reauthorization bill is not finalized prior to the FAST Act expiration, the Company anticipates some level of funding would be continued with continuing resolutions. Uncertainty of federal funding has led to an increase in state and alternative methods of infrastructure funding. We expect to see increased infrastructure spending at the state and local levels in 2021, aided by $10 billion for state departments of transportation provided by the December 2020 federal stimulus package as well as $14 billion of approved ballot initiatives.  At the federal level, we expect to see stable infrastructure

 

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spending in 2021 resulting from the FAST Act extension, but beyond that will be dependent on a successor bill to the FAST Act or continuing resolutions in the future for any greater federal impact on funding. Any enhanced federal infrastructure bill will require Congressional approval. We cannot be assured, however, of such approval or of the existence, amount and timing of appropriations for spending on future projects.

Our businesses could be impacted by rising interest rates

Our operations are highly dependent upon the interest rate-sensitive construction and steelmaking industries. Therefore, our business in these industries may decline if interest rates rise and costs increase.

Notably, demand in the residential construction market in which we sell our aggregates products is affected by interest rates which are currently at historically low levels. There can be no assurance, however, that interest rates will not increase in the future, affecting our business in an adverse manner. The residential construction market accounted for 24% of our aggregates shipments in 2020.

Aside from these inherent risks from within our operations, our earnings are also affected by changes in short-term interest rates. However, rising interest rates are not necessarily predictive of weaker operating results.

Rising interest rates could also result in disruptions in the credit markets, which could affect our business, as described in greater detail under “Disruptions in the credit markets could affect our business” below.

Increases in our effective income tax rate may harm our results of operations

A number of factors may increase our future effective income tax rate, including:

 

governmental authorities increasing taxes or eliminating deductions, particularly the depletion deduction;

 

the mix of earnings from depletable versus non-depletable businesses;

 

the jurisdictions in which earnings are taxed;

 

the resolution of issues arising from tax audits with various tax authorities;

 

changes in the valuation of our deferred tax assets and liabilities;

 

adjustments to estimated taxes upon finalization of various tax returns;

 

changes in available tax credits;

 

changes in stock-based compensation;

 

other changes in tax laws; and

 

the interpretation of tax laws and/or administrative practices.

Any significant increase in our future effective income tax rate could reduce net earnings and free cash flow for future periods.

Personnel Risks

Labor disputes could disrupt operations of our businesses

Labor unions represent approximately 10% of the hourly employees of our Building Materials Business and all of the hourly employees of our Magnesia Specialties business. Our collective bargaining agreements for employees of our Magnesia Specialties business at the Woodville, Ohio, lime plant and the Manistee, Michigan magnesia chemicals plant expire in June 2022 and August 2023, respectively.

Disputes with our trade unions, or the inability to renew our labor agreements, could lead to strikes or other actions that could disrupt our businesses, raise costs and reduce revenues and earnings from the affected locations.

We depend on the recruitment and retention of qualified personnel, and our failure to attract and retain such personnel could adversely affect our business.

Our success depends to a significant degree upon the continued services of, and on our ability to attract and retain, our key personnel and executive officers, including qualified management, technical, marketing and sales, and support personnel. Competition for such personnel is intense, and we may not be successful in attracting or retaining such qualified personnel, which could negatively affect our business. In addition, because of our reliance on our senior management team, the

 

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unanticipated departure of any key member of our management team could have an adverse effect on our business. Our future success depends, in part, on our ability to identify and develop or recruit talent to succeed our senior management and other key positions throughout the organization. If we fail to identify and develop or recruit successors, we are at risk of being harmed by the departures of these key employees. Effective succession planning is also important to our long-term success. Failure to ensure effective transfer of knowledge and smooth transitions involving key employees could hinder our strategic planning and execution.

Financial, Accounting and Cost Management Risk Factors

Our business is a capital-intensive business

The property and machinery needed to produce our products are very expensive. Therefore, we require large amounts of cash to operate our businesses. We believe that our cash on hand, along with our projected operating cash flows and our available financing resources, is adequate to support our anticipated operating and capital needs. Our ability to generate sufficient cash flow depends on future performance, which will be subject to general economic conditions, industry cycles and financial, business and other factors affecting our operations, many of which are beyond our control. If we are unable to generate sufficient cash to operate our business, we may be required, among other things, to reduce or delay planned capital or operating expenditures.

Our earnings are affected by the application of accounting standards and our critical accounting policies, which involve subjective judgments and estimates by our management. Our estimates and assumptions could be wrong

The accounting standards we use in preparing our financial statements are often complex and require that we make significant estimates and assumptions in interpreting and applying those standards. These estimates and assumptions involve matters that are inherently uncertain and require our subjective and complex judgments. If we used different estimates and assumptions or used different ways to determine these estimates, our financial results could differ.

While we believe our estimates and assumptions are appropriate, we could be wrong. Accordingly, our financial results could be different, either higher or lower. We urge you to read the Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates section included under Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” of the Form 10-K.

The adoption of new accounting standards may affect our financial results

The accounting standards we apply in preparing our financial statements are reviewed by regulatory bodies and are periodically changed. New or revised accounting standards could, either positively or negatively, affect results reported for periods after adoption of the standards as compared to the prior periods, or require retrospective application changing results reported for prior periods. We urge you to read about our accounting policies in Note A of our Consolidated financial statements included under Item 8, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data,” of this Form 10-K.

Reports from the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s (PCAOB) inspections of public accounting firms continue to outline findings and recommendations which could require these firms to perform additional work as part of their financial statement audits. Our costs to respond to these additional requirements may increase.

Disruptions in the credit markets could affect our business

We have considered the current economic environment and its potential impact to our business. Demand for aggregates products, particularly in the infrastructure construction market, have been negatively affected by federal and state budget challenges and the uncertainty over future highway funding levels. Further, delays or cancellations to capital projects in the nonresidential and residential construction markets could occur if companies and consumers are unable to obtain financing for construction projects or if consumer confidence is eroded by economic uncertainty.

A recessionary construction economy can also increase the likelihood we will not be able to collect on all of our accounts receivable with our customers. We are protected in part, however, by payment bonds posted by many of our customers or end-users as well as state lien rights. Nevertheless, we may experience a delay in payment from some of our customers during a construction downturn, which would negatively affect operating cash flows. Historically, our bad debt write-offs have not been significant to our operating results, and we believe our allowance for doubtful accounts is adequate.

 

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Part I    Item 1A – Risk Factors

The credit environment could impact our ability to borrow money in the future. Additional financing or refinancing might not be available and, if available, may not be at economically favorable terms. Further, an increase in leverage could lead to deterioration in our credit ratings. A reduction in our credit ratings, regardless of the cause, could also limit our ability to obtain additional financing and/or increase our cost of obtaining financing. There is no guarantee we will be able to access the capital markets at financially economical interest rates, which could negatively affect our business.

We may be required to obtain financing in order to fund certain strategic acquisitions, if they arise, or to refinance our outstanding debt. It is possible a large strategic acquisition would require that we issue new equity and debt securities in order to maintain our investment-grade credit rating and could result in a ratings downgrade notwithstanding our issuance of equity securities to fund the transaction. We are also exposed to risks from tightening credit markets, through the interest payable on any variable-rate debt, including the interest cost on future borrowings under our credit facilities. While management believes our credit ratings will remain at a composite investment-grade level, we cannot be assured these ratings will remain at those levels. Also, while we believe the Company will continue to have adequate credit available to meet its needs, there can be no assurance of that.

Our Magnesia Specialties business faces currency risks from its overseas activities

Our Magnesia Specialties business sells some of its products outside the United States. Therefore, the operations of the Magnesia Specialties business are affected from time to time by the fluctuating values of the currency exchange rates of the countries in which it does business in relation to the value of the U.S. Dollar. The business tries to mitigate the short-term effects of currency exchange rates by primarily denominating sales in the U.S. Dollar. This still leaves the business subject to certain risks, depending on the strength of the U.S. Dollar.

Unexpected equipment failures, catastrophic events and scheduled maintenance may lead to production curtailments or shutdowns

Our manufacturing processes are dependent upon critical pieces of equipment, such as our kilns and finishing mills. This equipment, on occasion, may be out of service as a result of planned maintenance, failures or damage during accidents. In addition to equipment failures, our facilities are also subject to the risk of catastrophic loss due to unanticipated events such as fires, explosions or violent weather conditions. We have one- to two-week scheduled outages at least once a year to refurbish our cement and dolomitic lime production facilities. In 2020, the cement operations incurred shutdown costs of $19.7 million during the year. In 2020, the Magnesia Specialties business incurred shutdown costs of $5.1 million during the year. Any significant interruption in production capability may require us to make significant capital expenditures to remedy problems or damage as well as cause us to lose revenue due to lost production time.

Our paving operations present additional risks to our business

Our paving operations face challenges when our contracts have penalties for late completion. In some instances, including many of our fixed-price contracts, we guarantee project completion by a certain date. If we subsequently fail to complete the project as scheduled, we may be held responsible for costs resulting from the delay, generally in the form of contractually agreed-upon liquidated damages. Under these circumstances, the total project cost could exceed our original estimate, and we could experience a loss of profit or a loss on the project. In our paving operations, we also have fixed-price and fixed-unit-price contracts where our profits can be adversely affected by a number of factors beyond our control, which can cause our actual costs to materially exceed the costs estimated at the time of our original bid. These same issues and risks can also impact some of our contracts in our asphalt and ready mixed concrete operations. These risks are somewhat mitigated by the fact that a majority of our road paving contracts are projects that are short in duration.

Our ready mixed concrete and asphalt and paving product lines have lower profit margins and operating results can be more volatile

Our ready mixed concrete and asphalt and paving operations typically generate lower profit margins than our aggregates and cement operations due to potentially volatile input costs, highly competitive market dynamics, and lower barriers to entry. Therefore, if we expand these operations, our consolidated gross margin would likely be adversely affected. Our overall ready mixed concrete and asphalt and paving operations’ gross margin was 10.9% for 2020 and 10.4% for 2019.

 

A World-Class Organization Built for Success

Form 10-K   Page 19

 


Part I    Item 1A – Risk Factors

Suppliers, Raw Materials, and Energy Costs Risk Factors

Short supplies and high costs of fuel, energy and raw materials affect our businesses

Our businesses require a continued supply of diesel fuel, natural gas, coal, petroleum coke and other energy. The financial results of these businesses have historically been affected by the short supply or high costs of these fuels and energy. Changes in energy costs also affect the prices that we pay for related supplies, including explosives, conveyor belting and tires. While we can contract for some fuels and sources of energy, such as fixed-price supply contracts for coal and petroleum coke, significant increases in costs or reduced availability of these items have and may in the future reduce our financial results. Moreover, fluctuations in the supply and costs of these fuels and energy can make planning for our businesses more difficult. Because of the fluctuating trends in diesel fuel prices, we may enter into fixed-price fuel agreements from time to time for a portion of our diesel fuel to reduce our diesel fuel price risk.

Our Magnesia Specialties business has fixed-price agreements for 63% of its 2021 coal, natural gas, and petroleum coke needs. The cement operations have fixed-price agreements for a portion of their 2021 coal and natural gas needs.

Cement production requires large amounts of energy, including electricity and fossil fuels. Energy costs represented approximately 21% of the 2020 direct production costs of our cement operations. Therefore, the cost of energy is one of our largest expenses. Prices for energy are subject to market forces largely beyond our control and can be quite volatile. Price increases that we are unable to pass through in the form of price increases for our products, or disruption of the uninterrupted supply of fuel and electricity, could adversely affect us. Accordingly, volatility in energy costs can adversely affect the financial results of our cement operations.

Similarly, our ready mixed concrete and asphalt and paving operations also require a continued supply of liquid asphalt and cement, which serve as key raw materials in the production of hot mix asphalt and ready mixed concrete, respectively. Some of these raw materials we produce internally, but most are purchased from third parties. These purchased raw materials are subject to potential supply constraints and significant price fluctuations, which are beyond our control. The financial results of our ready mixed concrete and asphalt and paving operations have been affected by the short supply or high costs of these raw materials. We generally see frequent volatility in the costs for these raw materials.

Cement is sensitive to supply and price volatility

Cement competition is often based primarily on price, which is highly sensitive to changes in supply and demand. Prices may fluctuate significantly in response to relatively minor changes in supply and demand, general economic conditions and other market conditions, which we cannot control. When cement producers increase production capacity or more cement is imported into the market, an oversupply of cement in the market may occur if supply exceeds demand. In that case cement prices generally decline. We cannot be assured that prices for our cement products sold will not decline in the future or that such decline will not have a material adverse effect on our cement product line.

Our Magnesia Specialties business depends in part on the steel industry and the supply of reasonably priced fuels

Our Magnesia Specialties business sells some of its products to companies in the steel industry. While we have reduced this risk over the last few years, this business is still dependent, in part, on the strength of the cyclical steel industry. The Magnesia Specialties business also requires significant amounts of natural gas, coal and petroleum coke, and financial results are negatively affected by increases in fuel prices or shortages.

Cyber and Information Security Risk Factors

We are dependent on information technology and our systems and infrastructure face certain risks, including cybersecurity risks and data leakage risks

We are dependent on information technology systems and infrastructure, including reliance on third-party vendors and third-party software. Any significant breakdown, invasion, destruction or interruption of these systems by employees, others with authorized access to our systems or unauthorized persons could negatively impact operations. There is also a risk that we could experience a business interruption, theft of information or reputational damage as a result of a cyber-attack, such as an infiltration of a data center, or data leakage of confidential information either internally or at our third-party providers. While we have invested in the protection of our data and information technology to reduce these risks and routinely test the

 

Form 10-K   Page 20

A World-Class Organization Built for Success

 


Part I    Item 1A – Risk Factors

security of our information systems network, we cannot ensure that our efforts will prevent breakdowns or breaches in our systems that could adversely affect our business.

Other Risk Factors

Delays or interruptions in shipping products of our businesses could affect our operations

Transportation logistics play an important role in allowing us to supply products to our customers, whether by truck, rail or water. We also rely heavily on third-party truck and rail transportation to ship coal, natural gas and other fuels to our plants. Any significant delays, disruptions or the non-availability of our transportation support system could negatively affect our operations. Transportation operations are subject to capacity constraints, high fuel costs and various hazards, including extreme weather conditions and slowdowns due to labor strikes and other work stoppages. In Texas, we compete for third-party trucking services with operations in the oil and gas fields, which can significantly constrain the availability of those services to us. If there are material changes in the availability or cost of transportation services, we may not be able to arrange alternative and timely means to transport our products or fuels at a reasonable cost, which could lead to interruptions or slowdowns in our businesses or increases in our costs.

The availability of railcars can also affect our ability to transport our products. Railcars can be used to transport many different types of products across all of our segments. If owners sell or lease railcars for use in other industries, we may not have enough railcars to transport our products.

We have long-term agreements with shipping companies to provide ships to transport our aggregates products from our Bahamas and Nova Scotia operations to various coastal ports. These contracts have varying expiration dates ranging from 2023 to 2027 and generally contain renewal options. Our inability to renew these agreements or enter into new ones with other shipping companies could affect our ability to transport our products.

Some of our products are distributed by barges along rivers in Ohio and West Virginia. We may experience, to a lesser degree, risks associated with distributing our products by barges, including significant delays, disruptions or the non-availability of our barge transportation system that could negatively affect our operations, water levels that could affect our ability to transport our products by barge, and barges that may not be available in quantities that we might need from time to time to support our operations. 

Our articles of incorporation and bylaws and North Carolina law may inhibit a change in control that you may favor

Our restated articles of incorporation and restated bylaws and North Carolina law contain provisions that may delay, deter or inhibit a future acquisition of us not approved by our Board of Directors. This could occur even if our shareholders are offered an attractive value for their shares or if many or even a majority of our shareholders believe the takeover is in their best interest. These provisions are intended to encourage any person interested in acquiring us to negotiate with and obtain the approval of our Board of Directors in connection with the transaction. Provisions that could delay, deter, or inhibit a future acquisition include the following:

 

the ability of the Board of Directors to establish the terms of, and issue, preferred stock without shareholder approval;

 

the requirement that our shareholders may only remove directors for cause;

 

the inability of shareholders to call special meetings of shareholders; and

 

super-majority shareholder approval requirements for business combination transactions with certain five percent shareholders.

Additionally, the occurrence of certain change-of-control events could result in an event of default under certain of our existing or future debt instruments.

ITEM 1B – UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

There are no unresolved written comments that were received from the staff of the SEC one hundred and eighty (180) days or more before the end of our fiscal year relating to our periodic or current reports under the Exchange Act.

 

ITEM 2 – PROPERTIES

 

A World-Class Organization Built for Success

Form 10-K   Page 21

 


Part I    Item 2 – Properties

Building Materials Business

As of December 31, 2020, the Company processed or shipped aggregates from approximately 300 quarries, underground mines, and distribution yards in 27 states, Canada and The Bahamas, of which 130 are located on land owned by the Company free of major encumbrances, 61 are on land owned in part and leased in part, 91 are on leased land, and 14 are on facilities neither owned nor leased, where raw materials are removed under an agreement. The Company’s aggregates reserves, on average, represent approximately 90 years at current production levels. However, certain locations may be subject to more limited reserves and may not be able to expand. In addition, as of December 31, 2020, the Company processed and shipped ready mixed concrete and asphalt products from 128 properties in three states, of which 100 are located on land owned by the Company free of major encumbrances, two are on land owned in part and leased in part, two are at facilities neither owned nor leased and 24 are on leased land.

The Company uses various drilling methods, depending on the type of aggregates, to estimate aggregates reserves that are economically mineable. The extent of drilling varies and depends on whether the location is a potential new site (greensite), an existing location, or a potential acquisition. More extensive drilling is performed for potential greensites and acquisitions, and, in rare cases, the Company may rely on existing geological data or results of prior drilling by third parties. Subsequent to drilling, selected core samples are tested for soundness, abrasion resistance, and other physical properties relevant to the aggregates industry. If the reserves meet the Company’s standards and are economically mineable, then they are either leased or purchased.

The Company estimates proven and probable reserves based on the results of drilling. Proven reserves are reserves of deposits designated using closely spaced drill data and are believed to be relatively homogenous. Proven reserves have a certainty of 85% to 90%. Probable reserves are reserves that are inferred utilizing fewer drill holes and/or assumptions about the economically mineable reserves based on local geology or drill results from adjacent properties. The degree of certainty for probable reserves is 70% to 75%. In determining the amount of reserves, the Company’s policy is to exclude calculations that exceed certain depths, so for deposits such as granite, that typically continue to depths well below the ground, there may be additional deposits that are not included in the reserve calculations. The Company also deducts reserves not available due to property boundaries, set-backs, and plant configurations, as deemed appropriate when estimating reserves. The Company uses the same methods of analysis to evaluate and estimate the amount of its aggregates reserves used in the cement manufacturing process for its cement operations as it does for its aggregates operations. For additional information on the Company’s assessment of reserves, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations – Other Financial Information - Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates - Property, Plant and Equipment” included under Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” of this Form 10-K.

Set forth in the tables below are the Company’s estimates of reserves of recoverable aggregates (hard rock and sand and gravel) of suitable quality for economic extraction, shown on a state-by-state basis, and the Company’s total annual production for the last three years, along with the Company’s estimate of years of production available, shown on a reportable segment-by-reportable segment basis. The number of producing quarries shown on the table includes underground mines. The Company’s reserve estimates for the last two years are shown for comparison purposes on a state-by-state basis. The changes in reserve estimates at a particular state level from year to year reflect the tonnages of reserves on locations that have been opened or closed during the year, whether by acquisition, disposition, or otherwise; production and sales in the normal course of business; additional reserve estimates or refinements of the Company’s existing reserve estimates; opening of additional reserves at existing locations; the depletion of reserves at existing locations; and other factors. The Company evaluates its reserve estimates primarily on a Company-wide, or reportable segment-by- reportable segment basis, and does not believe comparisons of changes in reserve estimates on a state-by-state basis from year to year are particularly meaningful. The Company’s estimate of reserves shown in the tables below include reserves used in the Company’s cement product line and Magnesia Specialties business.

 

Form 10-K   Page 22

A World-Class Organization Built for Success

 


Part I    Item 2 – Properties

 

State

 

Number

of

Producing

Quarries

 

 

Tonnage of Reserves

for each general type

of aggregate at

12/31/19

(in millions)

 

 

Tonnage of Reserves

for each general type

of aggregate at

12/31/20

(in millions)

 

 

Change in Tonnage

from 2019

(in millions)

 

 

Percentage of

aggregate

reserves located

at an existing

quarry, and

reserves not

located at an

existing quarry.

 

 

Percentage of

aggregate

reserves

on land that

has not been

 

 

Percent of

reserves owned

and percent

leased

 

State

 

2020

 

 

Hard

Rock

 

 

S & G

 

 

Hard

Rock

 

 

S & G

 

 

Hard

Rock

 

 

S & G

 

 

At

Quarry

 

 

Not at

Quarry

 

 

zoned for

quarrying*

 

 

Owned

 

 

Leased

 

Alabama

 

 

4

 

 

 

171.4

 

 

 

11.6

 

 

 

169.8

 

 

 

11.6

 

 

 

(1.6

)

 

 

 

 

 

100

%

 

0%

 

 

0%

 

 

56%

 

 

44%

 

Arkansas

 

 

3

 

 

 

242.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

237.4

 

 

 

 

 

 

(5.1

)

 

 

 

 

 

100

%

 

0%

 

 

0%

 

 

49%

 

 

51%

 

Colorado

 

 

9

 

 

 

750.3

 

 

 

182.8

 

 

 

745.1

 

 

 

178.3

 

 

 

(5.2

)

 

 

(4.5

)

 

 

91

%

 

9%

 

 

0%

 

 

18%

 

 

82%

 

Florida

 

 

1

 

 

 

122.0

 

 

 

 

 

 

121.4

 

 

 

 

 

 

(0.6

)

 

 

 

 

 

100

%

 

0%

 

 

0%

 

 

36%

 

 

64%

 

Georgia

 

 

18

 

 

 

2,168.5

 

 

 

18.8

 

 

 

2,172.1

 

 

 

18.2

 

 

 

3.6

 

 

 

(0.6

)

 

 

97

%

 

3%

 

 

0%

 

 

79%

 

 

21%

 

Indiana

 

 

10

 

 

 

476.9

 

 

 

73.7

 

 

 

470.5

 

 

 

65.8

 

 

 

(6.4

)

 

 

(7.9

)

 

 

100

%

 

0%

 

 

0%

 

 

52%

 

 

48%

 

Iowa

 

 

25

 

 

 

703.7

 

 

 

19.9

 

 

 

675.9

 

 

 

25.4

 

 

 

(27.8

)

 

 

5.5

 

 

 

100

%

 

0%

 

 

0%

 

 

30%

 

 

70%

 

Kansas

 

 

2

 

 

 

68.9

 

 

 

 

 

 

70.1

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.2

 

 

 

 

 

 

100

%

 

0%

 

 

8%

 

 

39%

 

 

61%

 

Kentucky

 

 

6

 

 

 

177.7

 

 

 

21.6

 

 

 

175.8

 

 

 

21.1

 

 

 

(1.9

)

 

 

(0.5

)

 

 

100

%

 

0%

 

 

0%

 

 

70%

 

 

30%

 

Louisiana

 

 

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.4

 

 

 

 

 

 

(0.1

)

 

 

100

%

 

0%

 

 

0%

 

 

0%

 

 

100%

 

Maryland

 

 

8

 

 

 

876.5

 

 

 

6.6

 

 

 

867.6

 

 

 

6.3

 

 

 

(8.9

)

 

 

(0.3

)

 

 

100

%

 

0%

 

 

0%

 

 

99%

 

 

1%

 

Minnesota

 

 

2

 

 

 

295.6

 

 

 

 

 

 

291.6

 

 

 

 

 

 

(4.0

)

 

 

 

 

 

64

%

 

36%

 

 

0%

 

 

50%

 

 

50%

 

Mississippi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

67.2

 

 

 

 

 

 

67.2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

100

%

 

0%

 

 

0%

 

 

100%

 

 

0%

 

Missouri

 

 

3

 

 

 

340.6

 

 

 

 

 

 

390.7

 

 

 

 

 

 

50.1

 

 

 

 

 

 

91

%

 

9%

 

 

0%

 

 

3%

 

 

97%

 

Nebraska **

 

 

6

 

 

 

157.5

 

 

 

30.5

 

 

 

284.8

 

 

 

28.9

 

 

 

127.3

 

 

 

(1.6

)

 

 

100

%

 

0%

 

 

0%

 

 

50%

 

 

50%

 

Nevada

 

 

1

 

 

 

133.8

 

 

 

 

 

 

133.1

 

 

 

 

 

 

(0.7

)

 

 

 

 

 

99

%

 

1%

 

 

0%

 

 

93%

 

 

7%

 

North Carolina

 

 

37

 

 

 

3,324.8

 

 

 

1.6

 

 

 

3,304.1

 

 

 

1.6

 

 

 

(20.7

)

 

 

 

 

 

74

%

 

26%

 

 

0%

 

 

74%

 

 

26%

 

Ohio ***

 

 

11

 

 

 

566.9

 

 

 

102.9

 

 

 

562.8

 

 

 

100.5

 

 

 

(4.1

)

 

 

(2.4

)

 

 

43

%

 

57%

 

 

0%

 

 

96%

 

 

4%

 

Oklahoma

 

 

9

 

 

 

1,174.9

 

 

 

11.6

 

 

 

1,192.2

 

 

 

11.4

 

 

 

17.3

 

 

 

(0.2

)

 

 

100

%

 

0%

 

 

0%

 

 

85%

 

 

15%

 

Pennsylvania

 

 

1

 

 

 

4.3

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.2

 

 

 

 

 

 

(0.1

)

 

 

 

 

 

100

%

 

0%

 

 

0%

 

 

100%

 

 

0%

 

South Carolina

 

 

10

 

 

 

767.5

 

 

 

75.8

 

 

 

762.2

 

 

 

73.9

 

 

 

(5.3

)

 

 

(1.9

)

 

 

97

%

 

3%

 

 

0%

 

 

83%

 

 

17%

 

Tennessee

 

 

2

 

 

 

103.3

 

 

 

 

 

 

102.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

(0.8

)