“As noted above, we are encouraged by various positive trends in our business and markets – especially in private sector employment and construction. We anticipate volumes to the nonresidential end-use market to increase in the mid-single digits given that the Architecture Billings Index, or ABI, a leading economic indicator for nonresidential construction spending activity, remains at a strong level. Residential construction is experiencing a level of growth not seen since late 2005 with seasonally adjusted starts ahead of any period since 2008. We believe this trend in housing starts will continue and our residential end-use market will experience double-digit volume growth. By contrast, the weather-related slowdown in aggregates shipments experienced in the first half of the year, coupled with a delay in large infrastructure projects moving through the public letting cycle, leads us to expect aggregates shipments to the infrastructure end-use market to be down in the mid-single digits for the full year. Our ChemRock/Rail end-use market is expected to be flat compared with 2012. Cumulatively, we anticipate aggregates product line shipments will increase 1% to 3%.
“We currently expect aggregates product line pricing will increase 2% to 4% for the full year. A variety of factors beyond our direct control may continue to exert pressure on our volumes, and our forecasted pricing increase is not expected to be uniform across the company.
“We expect our vertically integrated businesses to generate between $350 million and $375 million of net sales and $20 million to $22 million of gross profit.“Aggregates product line direct production costs per ton should be flat with 2012. SG&A expenses, excluding costs in 2013 and 2012 related to the information systems upgrade, as a percentage of net sales are expected to decline slightly. “Net sales for the Specialty Products segment are expected to 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.