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Martin Marietta 4Q profit jumps 45 pct

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Martin Marietta Materials Inc. said Tuesday that its fourth-quarter net income jumped 45 percent, helped by a rebound in construction activity that boosted demand for building materials.

The Raleigh, N.C.-based company earned $21.5 million, or 46 cents per share, compared with $14.8 million, or 32 cents per share, in the same quarter the year before.

Total revenue rose 20 percent to $504.1 million, as sales at the company's aggregates business rose 26 percent to $407.3 million. Sales of specialty materials decreased by about 2 percent to $50.6 million.

The profit fell short of Wall Street predictions, while revenue beat them. Analysts, on average, expected profit of 49 cents per share on $469.3 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Sales volumes of heritage aggregates — such as granite, limestone, sand and gravel — increased 5 percent, as shipments to both residential and non-residential markets increased 13 percent. Shipments to infrastructure-related markets rose by 1.5 percent.

Overall pricing of heritage aggregates edged up 1 percent.

For the full year 2012, Martin Marietta earned $84.5 million, or $1.83 per share, up from $82.4 million, or $1.78 per share, in 2011. Revenue rose to $2.04 billion from $1.71 billion.

The company was optimistic about its prospects for this year, predicting stronger new construction activity across the country. It projected a 2 to 4 percent increase in pricing of heritage aggregates for 2013.

Martin Marietta shares rose 72 cents to $98.79 in morning trading.