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Northern Ireland aggregates production down by nearly a half

BDS Marketing Research publish latest report on the state of aggregates sector in Northern Ireland

AGGREGATES production in Northern Ireland has fallen by 45% since the recession started in 2008. The situation is particularly acute in sand and gravel, where volumes are less than half of what they were a few years ago. These are some of the conclusions of the latest report on the sector by industry marketing consultancy BDS Marketing Research.

The report estimates the outputs of all sand and gravel pits and crushed rock quarries in Northern Ireland, by company and location. BDS estimate that Lagan are the largest aggregates company, with a share approaching 10%. However, if aggregates used for cement production are included, then Quinn are the largest aggregates supplier.

 

The consultancy estimates that the top 10 aggregates companies in Northern Ireland represent an estimated 55% of the market.

Despite the major decline in the market, all of the top 20 leading companies at the start of the recession are still in business. According to BDS, the industry has kept most of its sites open, but has seen volumes fall at each location.

In 2007, BDS estimated that there were 17 sand and gravel pits producing more than 100,000 tonnes a year. Now, the consultancy has identified just four sites still operating at this level. A similar picture was found in crushed rock; from 30 quarries extracting more than 250,000 tonnes a year, BDS now believe that there are only 10.

As well as grappling with lower volumes, aggregates companies have also been faced with lower prices, despite increases in energy, production, environmental and other costs. Although the size of the market is largely beyond the control of the industry, BDS believe that rationalization of the industry is required if companies are to see an increase in prices and margins.

‘There are too many companies chasing not enough work’, said BDS’s director, Julian Clapp. ‘The recent announcement of a joint venture between Lagan and Quinn is welcome, but more needs to be done.’

For further details of the report entitled: ‘Estimated outputs of pits and quarries in Northern Ireland’, contact Andy Sales at BDS on tel: (01761) 433035.

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