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UK asphalt market begins to stutter

UK asphalt market share estimate

Demand for blacktop starts to fall following two years of solid growth in 2014 and 2015

DEMAND for asphalt has begun to decline after two years of solid growth. The asphalt market could fall by 3% in 2016, after recovering by nearly 20% in the previous two years.

These are some of the conclusions of BDS Marketing Research Ltd’s annual report on the sector that has just been published, entitled ‘Estimated outputs of asphalt plants in Great Britain’.


Commenting on the report, author Andy Sales said: ‘The current decline is not due to the Brexit vote. Asphalt markets started to fall at the start of the year, although the picture is not consistent across the whole market. There is a largely north–south divide with growth so far in 2016 only in Scotland and across northern England.’

BDS expect the market to stabilize by the middle of 2017 before further growth in each of the next two years. This is due to the timing of major road schemes and an anticipated increase in Highways England expenditure.

The BDS report lists the estimated outputs of all 275 asphalt plants currently operating in Great Britain and identifies Tarmac as the largest asphalt suppliers with around one third of the market. The other top-five companies are Aggregate Industries, Hanson, CEMEX and Breedon.

Between them, these five companies are estimated to have more than 80% of the market, whilst around 30 companies represent the rest of the market.

According to BDS, the typical ranking of companies at a regional level shows that Tarmac are the largest asphalt producers in seven of 10 regions, whilst Aggregate Industries are usually the second largest company in each region.

Despite the recent slight decline, asphalt companies are gearing up for improved markets. BDS have identified six new asphalt plants that have opened in the last year, as well as a further six mothballed plants that have reopened. The consultancy has also picked up proposals for eight new plants that are at some stage in the planning system.

As well as being useful to the asphalt companies themselves, the report is a valuable reference document for suppliers of bitumen and other products and services to the industry. For further details, contact Andy Sales at BDS Marketing via email at: [email protected]; or tel: (01761) 433035.

BDS publish a number of annual reports on aggregates, asphalt, concrete and other sectors. They are also regularly commissioned to undertake research and consultancy work for clients, including commercial due diligence, research of markets and prices, and investment appraisal.


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