“Increased production should lead to a slight reduction in aggregates product line direct production costs per ton compared with 2012. SG&A expenses as a percentage of net sales are expected to decline slightly.
“Net sales for the Specialty Products segment should be between $220 million and $230 million, generating $81 million to $85 million of gross profit. Steel utilization and natural gas prices are two key factors for this segment.
“Interest expense is expected to remain relatively flat. Our effective tax rate is expected to approximate 26%, excluding discrete events. Capital expenditures are forecast at $155 million.”
RISKS TO OUTLOOK
The 2013 outlook includes management’s assessment of the likelihood of certain risk factors that will affect performance. The most significant risk to the Corporation’s performance will be the United States economy and its impact on construction activity. While both MAP-21 and TIFIA credit assistance are excluded from federal budget sequester and the U.S. debt ceiling limit, the ultimate resolution of these issues may have a significant impact on the economy and, consequently, construction activity. Other risks related to the Corporation’s future performance include, but are not limited to, both price and volume and include a recurrence of widespread decline in aggregates volume negatively affecting aggregates price; the termination, capping and/or reduction of the federal and/or state gasoline tax(es) or other revenue related to infrastructure construction; a significant change in the funding patterns for traditional federal, state and/or local infrastructure projects; a reduction in defense spending, and the subsequent impact on construction activity on or near military bases, particularly if sequestration of budget programs occurs; a decline in nonresidential construction, a decline in energy-related drilling activity resulting from certain regulatory or economic factors, a slowdown in the residential construction recovery, or some combination thereof; and a continued reduction in ChemRock/Rail shipments resulting from declining coal traffic on the railroads. Further, increased highway construction funding pressures resulting from either federal or state issues can affect profitability. Currently, nearly all states have general fund budget issues driven by lower tax revenues. If these negatively affect transportation budgets more than in the past, construction spending could be reduced. North Carolina and Texas, states disproportionately affecting the Corporation’s revenue and profitability, are among the states experiencing these fiscal pressures, although recent statistics indicate that transportation budgets and tax revenues are increasing.