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Record low for UK aggregate production

DESPITE a slight improvement in 2010, UK aggregates production is at its lowest level in nearly 50 years. Last year production was around 160 million tonnes, a figure not seen since before 1965. As a result of the recession, around 70 quarries and pits have closed over the last 12 months.

These are some of the conclusions of the annual BDS Marketing Research Ltd report entitled: ‘Estimated outputs of pits, quarries and marine wharves in Great Britain’, which shows company market shares on a local, regional and national basis, as well as listing sites that have opened or closed and changes in company ownership. The report also includes an independent three-year forecast for the industry.

According to the report, Tarmac have maintained their position as the leading aggregates producer in Great Britain, although they are thought to have lost some slight market share in recent months; BDS estimate the company’s current national share at around 20%. The top five companies are completed by Aggregate Industries, Hanson, CEMEX and Lafarge, who together are estimated to represent around 70% of production.

Despite the recession, only three companies have gone into liquidation, two of which have subsequently been acquired from administrators, and some companies have shown their confidence in the future, with more than 20 sites opening or re-opening in the past year.

However, although there was some slight recovery in 2010 when demand picked up by 2%, BDS say they are not optimistic that further recovery is imminent in the short term, and are warning that the decline in public sector work is likely to more than offset any recovery in private sector demand.

The consultancy is forecasting a decline in the market in both 2011 and 2012, but is expecting a return to relatively strong growth in 2013. By this time, BDS believe that the cutbacks in public sector work will have worked through the system and growth will be stronger in the private sector.

For further information contact BDS Marketing.




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