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U.S. Concrete sales flat in the third quarter

Houston-based ready mix concrete company U.S. Concrete saw a relatively flat quarter for sales, with earnings growth hurt in part by adverse weather and a difficult housing market.

Earnings fell 10.5 percent to $10.04 million from $11.22 million in last year’s third quarter. Sales essentially were flat at $250.3 million compared with $250.6 million in the same period last year.

“This decline reflects the continued downturn in residential home construction activity in many of our markets, together with the impact of adverse weather conditions early in the quarter in our Texas markets,” the company said in a statement.

President and CEO Michael Harlan said although the company has been challenged by negative trends in residential construction, U.S. Concrete was able to charge higher prices for its product: the average sales price per cubic yard of ready-mixed concrete increased 5.5 percent in the third quarter compared with last year.

“However, we are seeing early signs of pricing pressure in select markets from our competition,” Harlan said. “Given these market conditions and an expectation for a decline in volumes in 2008, we are aggressively evaluating our cost structure and asset base. We have already begun to take action in several markets to bring our cost structure in line with our volume outlook and will continue to make adjustments throughout our business units over the coming months.”

U.S. Concrete serves professional and construction markets, with products including ready-mixed concrete, concrete-related products and precast products.

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