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Contraction in block sales predicted

Early indications in 2008 suggest that the UK block market will face contraction this year as the credit crunch continues to affect the housing and commercial sectors, market analyst BDS is predicting.

Speaking on the release of the company’s biennial report into the building block market, BDS Marketing economist Julian Clapp told MQR that after 2% growth last year, concrete block manufacturers could expect negative growth during 2008.

Clapp: “In 2007 there was new housing activity with renovation and change of use markets also boosting sales. However, this was a blip. Since its peak in 2003, the building block market has suffered a year-on year fall in demand. And now the credit crunch is starting to bite and things are a lot more uncertain.

“We have revised figures downwards and predict negative growth this year with block manufacturers being hit more than aggregates. March was a particularly disappointing month,” he says.

The slow fall of the block market – a total of 10 plants have closed in recent years as the industry adjusts to lower volumes – is inversely mirrored by the steady growth in market share of timber frame housing.

New Timber Frame Association figures expected in May are predicted to show further growth during 2007.

In terms of leading the race for block market share, the BDS report states that Tarmac remains in pole position, with 20%. In second to fifth place are Hanson, H&H Celcon, Cemex and Aggregate Industries.

Together, these firms are estimated to have around 60% of the market. BDS has also identified a total of more than 120 plants in Great Britain, operated by 50 companies.




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