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Vulcan Materials (VMC) Q1 Earnings Top, Outlook Updated

Vulcan Materials Company’s VMC first-quarter 2016 adjusted earnings of 26 cents per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 6 cents by a robust 333.3%. Moreover, the bottom line marked a massive turnaround from the prior-year quarter loss of 16 cents on the back of higher revenues and robust margins.

Total revenue of $754.7 million also surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $710 million by 6.3%. Sales surged about 20% from the prior-year quarter driven by increasing demand for construction activities across the markets served by the company and increased pricing momentum in the Aggregates segment.

Adjusted gross margin of 26.0% increased 1120 basis points (bps). Adjusted EBITDA soared 100% year over year to $156 million driven by strong growth across all the segments.

Segment Details


Revenues rose 26% year over year to $634.9 million owing to higher shipments. Freight-adjusted revenues soared 28% year over year to $487 million.

Aggregates shipments (volumes) rose 17% driven by gradual recovery in private and public demand across end-markets. Its average aggregate volume increase was driven by favorable weather in some of the markets served by Vulcan, its customer’s success in winning and executing new project work, improvement in public construction expenditure and an extra shipping day in the quarter owing to the leap year.

Freight-adjusted average sales price climbed 9.5%, driven by price increases in most of the markets. Freight-adjusted average sales price growth was also driven by favorable product and geographic mix. The company expects the strong pricing momentum to continue into 2016 as well.

Adjusted gross profit margin of 30.5% increased 1270 bps during the quarter.


Adjusted total revenue in the Concrete segment was $70.4 million, up 17.7% year over year driven by an increase in volumes and price.

Revenues in the Asphalt Mix segment were $89.1 million, down 13.6% owing to a decline in volume and price.

Total revenue at the Calcium segment (formerly Cement) was $1.9 million, flat compared to the prior-year quarter, as benefits from an increase in volume was mostly offset by a decline in price.

Vulcan Materials exited the Cement business with the sale of the Florida facilities in Mar 2014. The company has, however, retained its calcium operation at the Brooksville, FL facility and renamed the segment to Calcium. The facility mines, produces and sells calcium products.

2016 Outlook

Vulcan raised its adjusted EBITDA and aggregates shipments guidance for 2016. Based on the current market situation, the company expects adjusted EBITDA at or near the upper end of the previously estimated range of $1.0 billion to $1.1 billion, which will be driven by an improvement in gross profit per ton at the Aggregates segment, higher earnings at the Non-Aggregates segments, and lower costs.

The company also expects Aggregates shipments to increase 8% to 9%, higher than the prior expectation of around 7% increase.

The company maintained the rest of the guidance. Average freight-adjusted aggregates pricing is expected to increase 7% and Aggregates gross profit is expected to soar 25% year over year. On the other hand, total Non-Aggregates gross profit is expected to increase 20%.

Vulcan Materials carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Key Picks from the Sector

Some stocks in the building/construction sector that are worth considering include CEMEX, S.A.B. de C.V. CX, Beacon Roofing Supply, Inc. BECN and Tile Shop Holdings, Inc. TTS. While Beacon Roofing Supply sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), both CEMEX and Tile Shop Holdings carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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