FMI releases 2013 construction outlook
FMI, the Raleigh, N.C.-based provider of management consulting and investment banking to the engineering and construction industry, has forecast an 8% increase in construction activity for 2013. Robust growth in residential construction, as well as a few strong markets in nonresidential and non-building construction, will contribute to the expansion, the report said.
“The focus for 2013 will be on the movement of private money back into the markets,” FMI said. Total construction put in place for 2013 is forecast to be $892 billion, a solid improvement over the last few years, but still just edging out 2003 levels of construction activity.
In the residential market, rising housing starts bode well for 2013. In non-residential, power-related construction will continue to be one of the strongest growth sectors, along with communications, which is being powered by an insatiable need for speed and to send and store large amounts of multimedia files over the Internet. New healthcare construction will include a growing number of renovation projects to update current facilities for modern hospital design, using more technology in the rooms, as well as for improving air quality and reducing energy usage.
In the commercial sector, FMI expected more rethinking of construction space to accommodate smaller stores and combining in-store sales with online shopping. “Look for increasing multiuse projects,” the report said. New construction activity in the education and hospitality industries will be weak, FMI predicted.
Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index
A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Nov. 9, 2012
*Western – regional species perimeter foundation; Southern – regional species slab construction.
Crow’s Market Recap — A condensed recap of the market conditions for the major North American softwood lumber and panel products as reported in Crow’s Weekly Market Report.
Lumber: Early sales activity in the SPF lumber market gave mills the opportunity to again raise prices. Order files extending into the last week of this month also provided impetus for the single-digit price gains. Western mills continued to ship significant volumes overseas to Asian markets. Southern Pine lumber producers noted a slower pace early, but the totality of sales made for a fairly strong week. Mill order files, stretching into or through the Thanksgiving week, contributed to strong price hikes. Coastal species lumber buyers again purchased enough volumes to force mill prices higher. A number of buyers finished purchasing early, prior to leaving for the NAWLA Traders Market. This generated a slower pace to the market later in the week. Inland lumber producers, like most others, had a slight temporary reaction to the election, but the market disregarded any negativism and continued to forge stronger numbers. Ponderosa Pine industrial lumber is stable, from P99 through Mldg&Btr. Prices are unchanged, and even the #2 Shop, which has struggled all year, is less dramatic in its weakness. Neither Ponderosa Pine nor Eastern White Pine boards showed any change in prices, and wholesalers report that their activity is similarly slow for the time being. A number of market mavens in Western Red Cedar made their way early in the week to the NAWLA Traders Market. For those that stayed behind to man the phones, sales for shipment this year were light.
Panels: OSB prices continued to move upward, in some cases by substantial margins. This is the case in all producing regions, with the greatest pressure coming in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions. Distribution and retail yards were the driving force behind "decent" mill sales in the Southern Pine plywood market. Order files moved into the week of Nov. 26. Extended lead times helped mills increase a few sheathing prices. A fairly modest sales pace did not keep Western Fir plywood producers from raising prices on some items. Most order files ran in the range of Nov. 12 out to Nov. 26, depending on the item. Producers with quicker shipping volumes were able to work that to their advantage. Prices have paused for the time being in Canadian plywood. The delivered baseline for 9.5 mm CSP remains C$366, established last week after some aggressive buying among distributors. Those buyers now have wood coming to them, so they have reined in their activity. Particleboard buyers kept a close eye on inventories heading into the latter stages of the year. Moulding manufacturers continue to buy strong volumes from MDF producers.
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Sherwin-Williams to buy Mexican paint giant
Cleveland-based Sherwin-Williams Co. agreed to acquire Consorcio Comex, S.A. de C.V., a leader in the paint and coatings market in Mexico with headquarters in Mexico City.
Comex sells architectural and industrial coatings in Mexico through 3,300 units operated by 750 concessionaires. Sherwin-Williams will pay approximately $2.34 billion, including assumed debt, in an all-cash transaction, the company announced Monday morning.
In the United States, Comex sells paint and coatings products under a variety of brand names through 240 company-operated paint stores. In Canada, the company markets multiple brands of paint and coatings through 78 company-operated paint stores and approximately 1,500 independent paint dealers.
"Sherwin-Williams and Comex Group are an ideal fit in every respect — geographically, strategically and culturally," said Christopher Connor, chairman and CEO of Sherwin-Williams, in a prepared statement. "This transaction will significantly increase our presence in markets where our store count is low, it builds upon our strategy to grow our architectural paint business in the Americas and it brings a high-quality, dedicated team of employees to Sherwin-Williams. We are proud to welcome such a well-respected company and their employees into the Sherwin-Williams family."
In the same press release, Marcos Achar Levy, CEO of Comex, said, "We are very pleased and excited to join the Sherwin-Williams team and look forward to making a major contribution to the company’s ongoing success across the Americas. We have respected Sherwin-Williams for years, and are delighted to now be a partner. Comex and its committed employees know Sherwin-Williams well, and I am confident that joining the Sherwin-Williams family will provide an outstanding future for our employees and customers."
Founded in 1952, Comex is a privately held business with operations in Latin America, the United Statesand Canada. In 2011, Comex had total annual sales of US$1.4 billion.