Vulcan Materials Company

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The Vulcan Materials Company (NYSE: VMC) is a stone quarrier, manufacturer, and the largest supplier of construction aggregate in the United States. It is headquartered at 1200 Urban Center Drive at Liberty Park. In addition to sand, gravel, crushed stone and other raw aggregates, the company manufactures asphalt and concrete. It employs more than 8,000 people at 319 facilities in 21 states, the Bahamas and Mexico, and had $2.4 billion in sales in 2010. With a market capitalization of $17.85 billion in June 2019, Vulcan Materials is the most valuable public corporation in Alabama. It is currently ranked at No. 539 on the "Fortune 500" with $4.86 billion in revenue in 2020.

The company was founded in 1909 as the Birmingham Slag Company by Solon Jacobs and Henry Badham. Based in Ensley, the company marketed the huge stockpiles of furnace slag created as a byproduct of steelmaking for railroad ballast. Once the growth of the automobile industry necessitated a boom in road construction, the company was well-positioned to profit.

The company was purchased outright in 1916 by Charles Ireland an Ohio banker, who placed his sons, Glenn, Eugene, and Barney in charge of the company while he secured heavy equipment left over after the construction of the Panama Canal. They opened a new processing plant in Ensley, along with additional plants in Fairfield and Wylam.

Birmingham Slag was a major supplier to the Tennessee Valley Authority beginning in 1939 and also provided materials for construction of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Redstone Arsenal, Fort McClellan and other military facilities during World War II. In 1944 the company embarked on a profitable joint venture with Knoxville's Lambert Brothers, Inc. By 1951 the company was netting as much as $2 million per year on over $20 million in sales.

Glenn's son Charles W. Ireland assumed the presidency that year and began planning for growth under President Eisenhower's interstate highway program. He hired Bernard Monaghan to oversee the company's merger with the Vulcan Detinning Company of Sewaren, New Jersey, which was completed in 1956. The combined company, renamed Vulcan Materials, went public soon afterward. In 1957 it acquired Lambert Brothers, the Union Chemicals and Materials Corporation, and seven other companies. Monaghan succeeded Ireland as president and CEO. The company moved its industrial chemicals division headquarters to Birmingham from Wichita, Kansas in 1975.

Houston Blount succeeded Monaghan as president in 1977 and was named CEO in 1979, serving until his retirement in 1991. General counsel Donald James assumed the presidency in 1996 and became CEO the following year. He was succeeded in 2014 by Tom Hill.

In 1981, with sales of $793 million, Vulcan Materials was first listed on the "Fortune 500", landing at No. 367. It continued to grow through acquisitions until selling its chemicals division to the Occidental Chemical Corporation in 2005. The 2007 acquisition of Florida Rock Industries, Inc. positioned the company to benefit from that decade's building boom, sending shares above $122. The Great Recession that followed the collapse of the housing bubble saw shares topple below $40 and its stocks downgraded by investment analysts.

In December 2011 Martin Marietta launched a hostile bid to acquire the company. The takeover bid was supported by Charles Ireland's son, Glenn. In 2017 Vulcan Materials acquired another Birmingham-based company, Aggregates USA, for $900 million, adding 31 facilities in Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina and Virginia. In 2021 the company acquired U.S. Concrete Inc. of Euless, Texas for $1.2 billion.

Birmingham area facilities


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