|Standard Concrete Products Shutters its Doors|
|Tuesday, 14 August 2012 13:56|
After 60 years of providing redi-mix and aggregate to the southern California construction market, Standard Concrete Products is closing its operations, firing its employees and when it finds lessees for three of its plants, closing the business for good.
The company got tangled in the complicated California business climate—a huge market dominated by international owners (Standard is ultimately owned by Heidelberg Cement of Germany), highly competitive price sensitive customers stuck in a market that is half of what it was five years ago and coming regulatory costs (think of replacing every redi-mix truck in your fleet to meet the on-road diesel regulation at $300,000 each)—all spelled doom for the once major player.
Some signs were in the air already. Within the last year Standard sold its five Inland Empire plants to one of the few independent companies left in the market, Holliday Rock, of Upland which now has 21 locations in southern California.
The official company announcement—it took five calls and three emails to get one— from Lehigh Hanson, headquartered out of Irvine, Texas, which is a division of Heidelberg—was a little obtuse:
“Lehigh Hanson, Inc. has closed its Standard Concrete Products facilities in Irwindale, Vernon and Long Beach. We would like to thank our employees at these plants for their efforts and service. We also appreciate the support of our customers in the market. The decision to close these locations reflects our ongoing focus on optimizing our business portfolio and better positioning the company for long-term growth and profitability.”
There was no mention of the number of jobs lost, no explanation of the cause of the closure and no discussion of the remaining plants in Santa Monica, Palos Verdes or Santa Ana. Checking on Heidelberg Cement’s second quarter report, the company said their profits for the quarter internationally were up 11.4 percent, but down from the previous quarter.
The global construction markets are slowing, as are U.S. construction opportunities—mostly for the same reasons everywhere—declining public works spending and a continuation of the decline in housing markets world-wide.