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Martin Marietta Materials Inc (NYSE:MLM)
Q2 2019 Earnings Call
Jul 30, 2019, 11:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Martin Marietta's Second Quarter 2019 Earnings Conference Call. My name is Catherine, and I'll be your coordinator today. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, today's call is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the call over to your host, Ms. Suzanne Osberg, Vice President of Investor Relations for Martin Marietta. Ms. Osberg, you may begin.

Suzanne Osberg -- Vice President, Investor Relations

Good morning and thank you for joining Martin Marietta's second quarter 2019 earnings call. With me today are Ward Nye, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; and Jim Nickolas, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

To facilitate today's discussion, we have made available during this webcast and on the Investor Relations section of our website Q2 2019 supplemental information that summarizes our quarterly results and trends.

As detailed on Slide 2, this conference call may include forward-looking statements as defined by securities laws in connection with future events, future operating results or financial performance. Like other businesses, we are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. Except as legally required, we undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether resulting from new information, future developments or otherwise. We refer you to the legal disclaimers contained in today's earnings release and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which are available on both our own and the SEC websites.

Unless otherwise noted, all financial and operating results discussed today are for the second quarter of 2019. Any comparisons versus the prior year second quarter, and all margin references are based on revenues. when providing certain comparisons with prior periods, we have excluded the operating results of acquired businesses that do not have comparable results in the periods being discussed. We will refer to these comparisons as same-store information.

Furthermore, non-GAAP measures are defined and reconciled to the nearest GAAP measure in our Q1 2019 supplemental information and SEC filings.

We will begin today's earnings call with Ward Nye, who will discuss our first quarter operating performance, as well as market trends. Jim Nickolas will then review our financial results. A question-and-answer session will follow.

I will now turn the call over to Ward.

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Suzanne, and thank you all for joining today's teleconference. We're proud to report second quarter results that established new company records for revenues, gross profit and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization or adjusted EBITDA driven by double-digit aggregates shipments growth, continued pricing momentum across our Building Materials business and improved cost control.

Consolidated total revenues increased 6% to $1.3 billion, adjusted EBITDA to $378 million and fully diluted earnings per share to $3.01. This impressive second quarter performance underscores Martin Marietta's strong execution and superior strategic position, which are allowing us to capitalize on the strength of product demand in our key regions.

Attractive market fundamentals, including notable employment gains, population growth and superior state fiscal health continued to promote steady and sustainable construction growth and favorable pricing trends across our geographic footprint in the second quarter. Consistent with our expectations, construction growth in our top 10 states is outpacing the nation as a whole, we anticipate further acceleration in construction activity during the second half of this year, supported by strength in public and private sector spending. These attractive dynamics combined with our strong first half performance position Martin Marietta for increased shipments, pricing and profitability, and underpin our confidence that we will deliver another record year. That's why as announced in today's release, we raised the midpoint of our full-year adjusted EBITDA guidance by $32.5 million.

Our second quarter results can best be summarized as a tale of two geographies. Much of Martin Marietta's Eastern footprint, most notably, North Carolina, Georgia, Maryland as well as Iowa benefited from robust underlying demand as customers continued to address weather deferred projects and growing backlogs. By contrast, the company's two largest states by revenues, Texas and Colorado experienced extreme weather patterns during the quarter that hindered construction activity and negatively impacted our aggregates, cement and downstream operations in these regions. Aggregates shipments increased 10% for the company as a whole, or 6% on a same-store basis. All divisions achieved growth with the exception of our Southwest division, which had relatively flat shipment volumes. Equally important, for a second consecutive quarter, we saw improved shipments across all three of our primary end use markets.

Aggregates shipments to the infrastructure market increased 2% as contractors advanced transportation-related projects. However, major infrastructure initiatives in Texas and Colorado were delayed due to weather, thereby limiting overall gains in the quarter. We expect public construction, particularly for aggregates intensive highways and streets to accelerate throughout the remainder of the year, supported by meaningful increases in lettings and contract awards in a number of our key states, notably, Texas, Colorado and Maryland and continued funding from The Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act or FAST Act.

We are encouraged by the two year budget deal that was reached last week in Washington D.C. With that agreement now in place, we believe federal transportation funding will continue at a minimum at status quo levels. That's even absent the prospective passage of a successor infrastructure bill prior to the FAST Act's September 2020 exploration, an area that Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is currently making progress. This should provide the necessary confidence and structure for states to continue to move planned and future construction projects forward. Additionally, our top 10 states, which accounted for 85% of total Building Materials revenues in 2018 have all introduced incremental transportation funding measures within the last five years. State level funding is expected to continue to grow at a faster rate than federal funding in the near-term, leading to additional growth opportunities for our company. The infrastructure market represented 37% of our second quarter aggregates shipments, which was below the company's most recent 10-year annual average of 46%.

Aggregates shipments to the nonresidential market increased 25% with strength in distribution center, warehouse, data center and wind energy projects in Texas, the Carolinas, Georgia, Iowa and Maryland. Additionally, we're benefiting from the reemergence of large energy sector projects along the Texas Gulf Coast. Looking ahead and consistent with third-party forecasts, including the Dodge Momentum Index, our non-residential outlook remains positive and projects healthy commercial construction activity, particularly in our Southeastern and Southwestern regions. The non-residential market represented 37% of our second quarter aggregates shipments.

Aggregates shipments to the residential market increased modestly with attractive homebuilding activity in the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida, offset by weather impacted delays in Texas. Despite the recent decline in housing unit starts at the national level, we expect residential construction will continue to grow within Martin Marietta's geographic footprint driven by favorable population demographics, job growth, land availability, attractive mortgage rates and efficient permitting. In our view, the issuance of residential permits represent the best indicator of future housing construction activity. Currently, permit growth for our top 10 states is outpacing the national average for both multi-family and single-family housing units. The residential market accounted for 21% of aggregates shipments.

To conclude our discussion on end-use markets, the ChemRock/Rail market accounted for the remaining 5% of aggregates shipments. Volumes increased 11%, driven by improved ballast shipments to the western Class 1 railroads for emergency flood repairs, notably in Colorado and the Midwest. Based on our year-to-date performance and current trends, we also raised our full-year aggregates shipment guidance from an increase of 6% to 8%, to an increase of 8% to 10%. In line with internal expectations, aggregates pricing improved 3.4%. On a same-store basis, pricing improved 4.1%. As a reminder, selling prices for operations acquired during the second quarter of 2018 are approximately 15% below the company's overall average. Our goal is to move pricing for these operations to be more in line with our broader company selling prices.

By region, our Southeast Group achieved same-store pricing growth of 8%, reflecting strong underlying demand in North Georgia, and a higher percentage of long-haul shipments shipments from our higher priced distribution terminals. Continued disciplined led to aggregates pricing improvements of 3% for both the West Group and the Mid-America Group when compared on a same-store on the basis. We expect overall pricing growth to accelerate throughout the remainder of 2019, now that a significant portion of prior year weather deferred projects have rolled off our backlogs and implemented price increases are realized.

Cement shipments declined 5%, driven by extreme precipitation in Texas, most significantly in Dallas-Fort Worth, while pricing improved 5%. Underlying demand and the bidding pipeline remained robust and we believe our cement operations will continue to benefit from the tight supply in Texas.

Turning to our downstream businesses. Despite growing customer backlogs, ready mixed concrete shipments decreased nearly 16%, as unfavorable weather conditions in Texas and Colorado hindered construction activity in these states. Pricing improved 3% following annual price increases that became effective on April 1st. Our asphalt and paving business, which operates solely in Colorado experienced reduced production days from persistent extreme weather, including unseasonable May snowfall, resulting in an 8% reduction in asphalt shipments. Asphalt pricing improved 5%, reflecting strong bidding activity and customer confidence.

We believe it will be challenging for our downstream businesses, particularly in Colorado, to wholly makeup weather deferred shipments in the second half of the year, given the remaining available operating days in the calendar year and the typical seasonal constraint. However, we expect any weather deferred work not completed over the balance of 2019, will be pushed into 2020.

I will now turn the call over to Jim to discuss the specifics of our second quarter financial results.

James Nickolas -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Ward. The Building Materials business achieved record quarterly products and services revenues of $1.1 billion, a 6% increase. And gross profit of $328 million, a 14% increase. Aggregates product gross margin expanded 340 basis points to 33%. This margin expansion was driven by improved operating leverage from increased shipment and production levels, combined with pricing gains and the absence of the headwind from selling acquired inventory burdened by acquisition accounting in 2018. For the full-year of 2019 at the raised guidance levels, we still expect aggregates incremental margins on a same-store basis to exceed our 60% percent target.

Moving onto cement. For the second quarter, despite a nearly 5% decrease in shipments, cement product gross margin of 37.6% increased 110 basis points, driven by improved pricing, production efficiencies and lower maintenance costs. Magnesia Specialties continued to benefit from a solid global demand for magnesia chemical products, generating product revenues of $70 million and product gross profit of $29 million, both quarterly record. Favorable product mix, production efficiencies and lower energy costs contributed to the 500 basis point expansion of product gross margin to 41.5%.

Our consolidated results included a $16 million out [Indecipherable] expense to correct the overstatement of equity earnings from a non-consolidated affiliate in prior periods. This pre-tax non-cash adjustment was recorded in other non-operating expenses net and is a non-recurring item. Looking ahead, we expect full-year adjusted EBITDA to be approximately $165 million higher than in 2018. We will use the resulting increase in discretionary cash flow for the continued execution of our balanced capital allocation strategy. We remain focused on creating shareholder value through value-enhancing acquisitions, prudent organic capital investment and the opportunistic deployment of free cash flow through share repurchases and dividends, all while returning to our target leverage ratio.

For the full-year capital expenditures are expected to range from $350 million to $400 million, as we invest in high return projects. These projects are predominantly geared toward generating greater efficiencies, to drive continued margin expansion. Though some are specifically focus and increasing targeted capacity.

In May, we declared our 100th consecutive quarterly cash dividend. We are proud to be the only public company in our industry to have never reduced or suspended our dividend payments over this time, a testament to our consistent focus and balance sheet strength and operational excellence. Additionally, we returned $50 million to shareholders through the repurchase of 232,400 shares of common stock. These shares were repurchased at an approximate price of $215 per share. Since the announcement of our share repurchase program in February 2015, we have returned more than $1.5 billion to shareholders through a combination of share repurchase, as well as meaningful and sustainable dividends.

Our ratio of consolidated net debt to consolidated EBITDA, as defined in our applicable credit agreement was 2.7 times for the trailing 12 months ended June, 2019. While this remains modestly above the top end of our target leverage ratio, we expect to continue deleveraging with an anticipated return to our target leverage ratio of 2.5 times by the end of the third quarter. As detailed in today's release, we raised our full-year 2019 guidance to reflect our strong percent performance and current trends. On a consolidated basis, we expect total revenues to range from $4.535 billion to $4.730 billion, and EBITDA to range from f $1.200 billion to $1.315 billion.

With that, I will turn the call back over to Ward.

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Jim, thanks. To conclude, we're extremely please with our second quarter performance and outlook for the remainder of 2019. During our 25 years as a public company, Martin Marietta has responsibly managed and grown our business to create long-term shareholder value. We're committed to building on our track record of price discipline, strategic geographic positioning and prudent capital allocation. All the while maintaining our focus on safety, cost discipline, operational excellence and customer service to drive continued profitability and growth in 2019 and beyond.

If the operator will now provide the required instructions, we will turn our attention to addressing your questions.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

Thank you. [Operator Instructions] And our first question comes from Trey Grooms with Stephens. Your line is open.

Trey Grooms -- Stephens -- Analyst

Hey, good morning. Ward, Jim, and Suzanne.

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Good Morning, Trey.

Trey Grooms -- Stephens -- Analyst

I guess first for me, you mentioned that -- clearly the cement business volume impacted by weather in the quarter, but pricing was still very good, which indicating strong underlying demand. And I guess the same can be said for ready mixed and hot mixed asphalt as well. But can you talk a little bit about the weather impact. What that might have had in the quarter to volume, especially in cement. But then also, and I guess more importantly, how you're performing and what's you're seeing out there? Since July, it looks like as the weather has finally started to cooperate a little bit better for you guys. If you can kind of talk about what you're seeing there, especially in the cement business?

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Trey, thanks for your question. A couple of things. One, if we just look at the second quarter, cement had 15 more days impacted by rain in this quarter than it did last year to give you a sense of it. That's about 13 inches of incremental rainfall that we experienced in that Northern and Central Texas area. So that was clearly something that pushed back the volume. I think your point is actually a very good one. To see volume down and see ASP up 5%, I think it's a wonderful sign of an underlying marketplace that we think is attractive. There are several observations on that note. One, we did see pricing up nicely in North Texas. We also saw pricing up nicely in Central Texas. So we are seeing it up at both Midlothian as well as Hunter [Phonetic].

So we see, what we think is going to be a very busy second half of the year. As you know, typically I don't cover outside the lines and talk about specific months in the quarter that we're in right now. I'd like to talk about the quarter that has just concluded. But obviously, we have a great deal of confidence in what half two is going to look like or else we would not have modified our guidance going forward. More specifically, Trey, if you looked at the guidance and see where the moving parts are on that, you'll see volume growth as we've highlighted in aggregates. But you'll also see looking at cement, that we've taken up our product revenues and we've taken up our gross profit for the business. So I think if you take a look at where pricing is and what we've done relative to our guidance that does give you a good sense of at least how we're viewing half two.

The other thing to remember is, we did a lot of investment in our kilns in the first half of this year. So we also think the cost profile of that business half two will look very attractive.

Trey Grooms -- Stephens -- Analyst

Got it. Okay. That -- thanks for all that color, Ward. I appreciate it. And then as my follow-up. You mentioned -- I think this is specifically to aggregates, that overall pricing that you're expecting that pricing growth to accelerate through 2019 as some of these older projects roll off as you kind of play some catch-up with some of that pent-up demand. Can you give us any more color about that? I know you reiterated your guide for the full-year, but just any sense that you can give us kind of, what kind of impact that had to maybe the first half pricing and then a way that we can maybe think about that acceleration kind of going into the back half of the year?

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Sure. Thank you for that, Trey. I guess, I would say, do keep in mind, we are seeing old work roll off, you see what the price increases were. I think the other thing that's worth noting is, if we look at the quarter, actually we had a very strong quarter in particular in our Midwest and Mid-East divisions. Those are really not two of our overall higher priced divisions as you compare them, for example, two parts of the Mid-Atlantic and the Southeast. So we think we're likely to see natural price increases come in. We think we're likely to see some geographic mix that's going to be in our favor.

And one thing I have to say for our operating group too, as I reflect on that. To have had the type of growth that we did in Midwest and Mid-East, to have had a very wet quarter in Texas and Colorado, our two largest states by revenue and to put up 63% incremental margins on a same-store basis in the quarter. I think it's a really good story, but I think those building blocks I gave you at the beginning about answer relative to pricing is what gives us confidence in the way the build will look for the rest of the year.

Trey Grooms -- Stephens -- Analyst

Yeah, make sense. I'll go ahead and pass it on. Thanks, Ward, and congrats on the good quarter.

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Trey.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Kathryn Thompson with Thompson Research Group. Your line is open.

Kathryn Thompson -- Thompson Research Group -- Analyst

Hi. Thank you for taking my questions today. Just a follow-up cleanup question on guidance and modest revision upwards. Can you give little bit more clarity on how much of higher volumes versus lower costs contributed to that delta both on the aggregates and on the cement side. And could you also confirm the guidance still includes relatively better weather as you outlined in the previous quarter? Thank you.

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Sure. Kathryn, good to hear your voice. A couple of things as we walk through the guidance. And so to be very granular on it, the original guidance on volume growth for aggregates was 6 to 8, now it's 8 to 10. So as we're looking at that, one thing that we just have to recognize is we've hit the midpoint of our guidance relative to volumes and half one. So as we look at where we think half two is going to be, we think non-res is going to stay good. We're seeing a nicely continuing recovery in the Southeast. We think infrastructure looks good on multi-year basis and our customers are thinking well a backlogs.

On the last part of the call, I spoke to a degree on cement with respect to Trey's question. The one thing that we haven't changed is our view, at least on the 3 to 5 on ASP. So again, the pricing side has stayed static. The only part of our guidance really Kathryn that we took down was the guidance relative to our downstream businesses in large part recognizing that, we are planning for a second half wetter than normal, and we're planning for a normal onset of winter in the Rocky Mountains. So really if we take those two factors and try to determine what the runway just for the rest of the year could look like from a timing perspective on downstream businesses, we've tightened that up a bit.

Do I think our cost profile will get better? Yeah, I think it could. I think if you look at half one, the cost profile actually look pretty good. I think if we look at cost and cement, clearly we have done a lot of what we would do on those kilns. I think our labor costs are very nicely controlled. I think if you look at where we sit relative to costs with respect to fuel and otherwise today, that's been a pretty good story. We think it will stay that way. If we look year-to-date just for diesel fuel, June expenses were down $1.5 million lower than prior year, that's for the first six months on 5.4% more gallons. So keep in mind, we're going to have a full-year of bluegrass in fuel numbers. Again for your quick use, we used about 47.5 million gallons last year.

I think our M&R can pretty good in the second half. If you look at what we have done relative to capex over the last several years, that should continue to be a very good story on our cost profile. Now that said, when you put in that degree of capex, what it can do to DD&A is pushed that up very modestly as you work those costs up over time. But Kathryn as you know, if you're looking at, labor, if you look at DD&A, maintenance and repair and energy, you'll worked through close to 30% of your costs on labor and then a caveat costs of 15% after that. And given what we think can be the volume leverage, we think the cost profile can again be very attractive. I hope that color was helpful.

Kathryn Thompson -- Thompson Research Group -- Analyst

Yeah, it was. Shifting to the policy side. I know that we as a firm spend a lot of time on DoTs. You're seeing some good lettings from that, it's good to see. But maybe shifting to the focus in D.C. given yesterday's EPW meeting. And the President's tweet earlier this morning on potential progress, not that we really want to focus on that, but what are your thoughts in terms of realistically what's going on in D.C. for a long-term highlight that we up. Thank you.

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Kathryn. I guess a couple of things. I'd mentioned in my prepared comments two things. I mentioned the Bipartisan two-year agreement that was basically met last week, which we thought was encouraging, and that's what gives us confidence around in a worst-case scenario, it's something that feels like flat on infrastructure. Actually like very much, and again, I referenced this in the prepared comments what EPW did yesterday. So you've got a Republican controlled Environment and Public Works Committee and the Senate, that's basically authorizing a 27% increase in transportation spending that's notable.

The thing to remember is, Kathryn, historically the way that this works in reauthorization process is usually, it's kicked to the House in the first instance, and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee looks at this, comes out with their view of a bill and then Senate EPW comes in afterward. I think the fact that the Republican controlled Senate and EPW has come up with a nice increase on what they're calling Americas Transportation Infrastructure Act. In the first instance is really attractive for what we may watch for coming out of house D&I. You know and I know that the real debate is going to be around what would the pay force look like. I believe the debate around pay force will be divided somewhere between varying degrees of user fees, whether it be truck rates, whether it be electric car batteries for otherwise or fuel gas taxes. I don't think it's going to be any one of those, I think it's going to be an array of those.

I think we'll have good policy, the debate is going to be around what funding is going to be. But I think we have a President who would like to see it. We clearly have a Democratic Congress, who would like to see it, and we have a Republican controlled EPW that has come out with what we feel like is a very good start. We don't think that's a bad place to be here as we enter half two of this year.

Kathryn Thompson -- Thompson Research Group -- Analyst

All right. Thank you very much.

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Kathryn.

Operator

Thank you. And our next question comes from Scott Schrier with Citi. Your line is open.

Scott Schrier -- Citigroup -- Analyst

Hi. Good morning, and a nice quarter. I wanted to start on the downstream strategy. If I look at the cement internal and external shipment dynamics. Is there anything to look into or read into there. You had pretty good pricing. Does that means, it makes more sense to sell more externally and hold off on some of the internal sales? Obviously concrete margins were pretty light, I got it. There were some fixed cost absorption. But if I think about -- when you're looking at some of these fundamentals, how much of a need for the expensive network of ready mixed do you actually need?

And then similarly, if we look at ready mixed pricing is up 2.5% year-on-year, roughly the same sequentially given cement price moves, given aggregates price moves in labor. I would have looked for more. So is it competition there? The Colorado versus Texas dynamics, how do you kind of I think about material spreads. I know I kind of tacked up a little bit there. But any color you could give there would be appreciated.

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

You bet. Scott, I guess several things. One, looking at margins in cement that are in the mid to high 30s is something we'll take every day. So that was -- that's a business that actually performed well in the quarter. When I think if somebody were saying, what's the cement business simply going to look like in a wet second quarter in Texas. I'm not sure people would have thought it would have looked that good. I think the ready mixed business basically looking at the weather that they had in Texas, actually performed reasonably well. I do like the fact that you're seeing the ASPs go up.

Are you seeing ASPs go up more quickly in a market like Colorado, then you are in a marketplace like Texas? The answer is yes. But equally, were the markets in Texas that were hit hardest by rain specifically North Texas and around DFW, some of our higher priced ready mixed markets. The answer to that question is equally, yes. So again, if we look at the position that we have in Texas, we are the largest producer of aggregates, we are the largest producer of cement and we are the leading ready mixed producer, but again we focus that in a very intentional fashion in that large Texas triangle. We feel like that's a -- that market is built in a vertically integrated fashion. We are a leader in that market and we've been able as we go through cycles to extract value all the way through our product offerings in that marketplace.

So what I would suggest to you is, much of what you're looking at relative to the downstream businesses in Q2 was a weather of that driven circumstance. I think cement performed in that marketplace extraordinarily well. And again, I would take you back to the ASPs seeing ASP is up 3 and ready mixed with volume down 16. Actually I think that tells you the story on what the underlying demand looks like, and we do like our position all the way through the products in that state, Scott.

Scott Schrier -- Citigroup -- Analyst

Great. Ward, thanks. That's good color. From my follow-up, I wanted to move back to the aggregates and specifically in the Southeast. Obviously, you're seeing nice pricing growth from the long-haul shipments, you volumes coming back. I'm wondering if you could speak to the margin profile you're seeing in those regions. I know in the past, you've had a chart that basically showed the Southeast was further from peak levels of profitability than some of your more legacy assets. So can you talk about what you're seeing from a logistics perspective in rail over water, and the efficiencies that you're getting, and how you look at the potential to grow that region in terms of margin and profit dollars?

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

No. Sure, Scott, I'll do that. And keep in mind, we have to be careful, because we can have terms of art when we speak of the Southeast and we can have just normal conversational tones of what we mean when you're talking about the Southeastern United States. So I think at times, people are looking at our Southeast business, at times, they're looking at the bottom right hand corner of the map of the United States. What I would say is, so let's talk about the bottom right hand corner of the map of the United States, because I think that's how people think of that business.

If we're looking at North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida in particular, those are states that overtime, we would have expected some of the most attractive if not the single most attractive margins that we would see in our business. Clearly you're seeing nice ASP rise in the Southeastern United States in part, because to your point. If you look at where Georgia and North Carolina in particular have been, they're still around 20-ish percent below mid cycle on volumes, but they've not behaved from a pricing perspective is it there -- that far off on volumes. So what we're seeing in this quarter for an example is, we're seeing places like Greensboro, North Carolina recovering in a very nice way for literally about the first time in a decade. We think that's incredibly important. Has Raleigh been in recovery mode? It has been. Has Charlotte been? Yes. Has Greensboro lagged? It has. And its doing notably better now? Yes.

Equally, Atlanta coming out of the recession. Atlanta as you will recall, Scott, was hit disproportionately hard. Atlanta is in a very nice recovery mode now on both public and private work. And if we look at our Georgia DOT budget that's today is really considerably more attractive than it was several years ago. But if we're looking at some very large projects that are likely to be let in that marketplace over the next several years, we think that's important. It's probably worth looking at some point of the major mobility investment program that George is looking at and targeting around $12 billion to reduce congestion along key corridors and that state.

So I think back to your question, if you're looking at the Southeastern United States, we think the recovery is early. We think the recovery is notable, and I think your observation that you're not hearing us had based concerns around rail performance is notable. I mean, obviously, we saw a good performance from the railroads in the Western U.S. in the first half and we continue to have good service from the railroads in the East. We think all that portends very well for that Southeastern portion of our business.

Scott Schrier -- Citigroup -- Analyst

Thanks for that. Appreciate it, and good luck.

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

You bet. Scott. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Phil Ng with Jefferies. Your line is open.

Philip Ng -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Hey, good morning, guys. Hey, Ward strong quarter, pretty impressive in a tough environment.

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks. Thank you, Phil.

Philip Ng -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Sure. It seems like from the bottlenecks that you saw last year, whether it's rail and labor is trying to clear up. Is that fair? And what's your ability to kind of play catch-up in the back half. And I'm just curious, do you and your customers -- how the bandwidth will support stronger demand? Is there like a governor in terms of how fast shipments could be out this year?

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Couple of things. One, I think you're entirely right. Again part of what we said last year was we thought logistics would get better, we thought trucking would get better and we thought rail would get better, and we didn't think it would be cured over quarter, but we thought it would be cured over the course of several quarters. And I'm not saying it's cured. But we aren't saying it's considerably better. So I think what we had outlined in that respect is about right.

With respect to labor, I'm going to bifurcate that and I'm going to speak to it in two halves. The first half is, what is our labor look like. Do we have the capacity in most instances to put the stone on the ground that's required for projects, including ramp-up. The short answer, yeah. I think we do. I think we could certainly do that. Is there a governor at times in certain markets relative to contract labor? I think to a degree in some markets, if you have a higher degree of seasonality in a market, you can have some of that today. It's odd to look at it and see volume up 10% and be talking about a governor, because we actually like what we saw in the quarter. We like what we've seen in the first half. We think it's going to be a very busy second half. We are not going to be labor constrained on our side of the equation. We'll see how hard contractors can run. I would tell you I think contractors are doing a considerably better job of putting material down when they can.

I think the last several years have been extremely wet, have pushed contractors to adjust their schedules and we see them overcoming bottlenecks in ways in 2019, that I don't think we would have seen in 2017. Now to the extent that they can get all the work done that they would like to in 2019? The good news is, I think it could pushed into 2020. So I think we're looking at something that we've already captured is going to be a record year this year and I like how much build I see at this point going into 2020.

Philip Ng -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Got it, that's really helpful color. And then the growth that you saw in non-res was impressive. I think you're seeing double-digit growth and you're calling for a pretty notable uptick for the rest of the year. It sounds like you're starting to see some of those energy projects, you've kind of have been talking about in the Gulf coming through. One is, is that correct? And how should we think about this opportunity in next few years?

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you for the observation on that. I would say two things. Are we seeing some of the energy projects in the Gulf come through? The answer is, yes. I mean, to give you a sense of it. We'll probably sell a million tons to some of those projects this year. But here's what I think is more impressive about what we saw in the quarter on non-res Phil, and that was, it was broad based. If we're looking at the Southwest, the Mid-Atlantic, the Midwest, the Mideast, the Southeast, they were all up on non-res. So we're not seeing one big project in one part of the country that's just soaking up all the noise on non-res.

We're seeing good energy activity, as I just indicated, we're seeing reasonable shale activity, we're seeing continued warehousing activity, we're seeing large distribution activity, we're seeing wind farms, were seeing data centers. So part of what I like about non-res is, it seems to be fairly widely dispersed. And one of the things that you've heard us speak to Phil, is how important we believe it is to grow our businesses on these notable and significant corridors. So an I-25 and I-35 and I-85 and I-95 and Interstate 40, all of which are very active corridors for traffic. We're seeing notable non-res activity in those corridors and we're participating in those in ways that we would have expected. So is a 37% overall piece of the pie on non-res notable? It is, but we think it's got some sustainability to it. Based on the numbers that we're seeing, we believe that it does. So again, I want to give you some color there, Phil.

Philip Ng -- Jefferies -- Analyst

That's really helpful. And just one last one if I may. Your incremental margin guidance implies a noticable step-up, can you provide a little more color on the key drivers that gives you that confidence? I think for the full-year, it's tracking -- expected tracked north of the year longer term 60% target. Thanks and good luck in the quarter.

James Nickolas -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. Hey, Phi. It's Jim. So the answer to that is, really this continued performance that you've seen this year continuing in the second half of this year, coupled with the fact that we are comparing versus prior-year second half a very, very weather impacted second, third and fourth quarter. So really continued good performance, stable performance from our perspective this year then an easy comp for the back half of the year.

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

And Phil, just as a reminder, when we had 63% in the second quarter with our top two states hit hard by weather and with our big place in the East being really driven by the Midwest by the Midwest and Mid-East. Again, I think that underscores Jim's point. We feel pretty good about where the incrementals are going in the half two.

Philip Ng -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Okay. Thanks a lot.

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Sure.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Garik Shmois with Longbow Research. Your line is open.

Garik Shmois -- Longbow Research -- Analyst

Well. Hi, thanks. I'll ask on infrastructure. Clearly you're leading indicators are quite positive and you're seeing today. [Technical Issues] And you're up about 2% in infrastructure in the second half of the year. And if we get to your outlook for high-single digits for the full-year implies high single [Technical Issues].

Operator

Operator, I've lost Garik.

Garik Shmois -- Longbow Research -- Analyst

Hello, can you hear me?

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

We can hear you now. We lost you for second Garik. You were saying that in high-single digits for the second half , I think is what you're saying?

Garik Shmois -- Longbow Research -- Analyst

Yeah. I mean, I think you maybe a little bit more than high single-digit growth in the second half for infrastructure. And if that is the case, is there any price mix impact just given the timing of some of the shipments in infrastructure that you might experience?

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

The only thing that I could say relative to mix is, if you do end up with more brand new infrastructure projects starting, you could see a higher degree of base move on those. And again, the margins that we would experience on base sales is not going to be notably different than the margin we might experience some clean. But as you know, you can have a 25% to 30% delta in ASP moving from a base product to a clean stone product. So could you see some bit of that in that? I suppose. Are we concerned that that might do anything to change our guidance? We're not concerned about that Garik.

And I guess the other thing that I would say is, we've spoken with our customers about their backlogs, that's really what gives us the confidence as we look into half two relative to infrastructure, because we're looking at Mid-Atlantic backlogs that customers would say from their perspective are up at times nearly 30% to where they were last year. We're looking at backlogs in the Midwest, where customers are saying they may be up as much as 20% out of where they were in the prior year. We're looking in the Southwest, same type of activity. Customers are saying they may be up as much as 14%.

And when we're talking to customers in cement, they're talking about numbers that can even be ahead of those percentages that I just gave you. So if we're looking at where DOTs are and their bidding and what's happening. And keep in mind you've got $8.7 billion worth of lettings in Texas going up to $9.1 billion next year. Colorado has got $2.2 billion DOT budget this year versus $1.6 billion last year. North Carolina is expecting a record year. We're looking at Florida at $10.8 billion for FY'19 and '20, and we're looking in Maryland at the largest P3 highway project in North America.

So if we think about really why we have confidence in the continued emergence of public works, it's the customer backlogs and it's the dialog coming from the DOTs that gives us that underlying confidence.

Garik Shmois -- Longbow Research -- Analyst

Okay, that's good color. Thanks. Follow-up question is just on cement and maintenance expense. You have indicated that you pulled forward [Technical Issues] of the year. Can you remind us how much maintenance you incurred in the second half of 2018 and just how the comp looks?

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. For the full -- I'am going to tell you for the full year 2018, we had -- it looks like it was $14.4 million worth of expenses, we're looking at $19.2 million worth of expenses this year. And again, the biggest piece of that was front-loaded. So we feel like we're going to be in a very attractive year. We're $5 million more into kilns expense in the first half of this year versus where we were in the last year. So you can take those numbers and get a very good build as you go through.

Garik Shmois -- Longbow Research -- Analyst

Okay. Yeah, sure. Thanks again.

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Okay. Thank you, Garik.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Stanley Elliott with Stifel. Your line is open.

Stanley Stoker Elliott -- Stifel, Nicolaus and Company -- Anlayst

Hey, good morning, everyone. Thank you for taking the question. Maybe you can start by kind of give us update on thoughts around Bluegrass you've had for a year, you anniversaried it. You certainly mentioned Maryland and North Georgia as key contributors in the quarter. I would love to see kind of or hear rather kind of thoughts around how the integration went? If there are any additional synergies that would come out and I'll let you take it from there.

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Stanley, thank you for the question. I guess, several things. One, this was in fact the finest quarter that we've had with Bluegrass since its been under our ownership. We saw a nice incremental tonnage for the quarter. We've seen nice incremental tonnage for the first half. We exceeded all the synergy targets that we projected. And remember Stanley, the synergy targets we projected were operating synergy target. So I like to say we're getting those the hard way. We think culturally, we have brought a business into our business that has worked extraordinarily well. So for example, I'm really very proud to tell you that through the first half of the year, there were no lost time incident at Bluegrass site and that's a very different story then it was last year.

And you'll recall that's the same type of story that we had after we had acquired TXI. So are we pleased with a much larger position, particularly in Atlanta than we had before? Yeah, we are. Do we feel like that positions is particularly well as we start thinking about what Georgia DOT will do over the next several years on that major mobility investment program? Yeah, we do.

Being in Maryland, where you've got the largest P3 activity in the country and we think it's an exciting place to be. And I would tell you a couple of weeks ago, I was looking through the Bluegrass -- former Bluegrass operations in Kentucky that has fit very nicely into our Southern Ohio business. Very good people, very good operations doing everything that we thought it would do so. Yes, we're very pleased with every aspect of that. I did give some commentary in my prepared remarks on our views on what we think we would like to be able to do commercially with that business going forward, and we will continue to be focused on that.

Stanley Stoker Elliott -- Stifel, Nicolaus and Company -- Anlayst

Perfect. And then one last one, I guess, Jim, maybe for you to kind of thinking about capex spend run rate for the business. You mentioned some pretty spectacular, pretty significant increases on some of the backlogs for some of your customer work. But do we think about capex remaining at this level on a go-forward basis. And then two, kind of, how do you think about managing the debt levels on a go -- into next year primarily since you're going to be -- going through that -- the leverage target.

James Nickolas -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Sure. No, we're expecting our capex, again consistent with last year, this is consistent with prior guidance between $350 to $400 million this year. It might up incrementally more think about it as a percent of sales, as their business grows will have pro rata increased capex to some degree just to keep the equipment well maintained etc, as we grow. But the more interesting question is next year. I think once we get to our target at the EBITDA ratio, the target leverage zone, 2 times to 2.5 times which will be up by the end of this year. They will have free cash flow and more options to deploy that free cash flow. And I think we need to fall back on our, you've heard before, our strategic plan for that cash flows is first and foremost, reinvesting in the business and also then the value-adding acquisitions.

So that is something we think we've done well historically. We think we've got more opportunity there and more room to consolidate and we'll take advantage of that at that point. To the extent we have beyond -- cash beyond that of course, we will return to shareholders in the form of opportunistic share repurchases and higher dividends.

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Stanley, Jim has a high-class problem. And that is he gets to go out and do the largest -- second largest transaction in our company's history last April. And by the time he gets to the end of the third quarter of this year, he is back within his target ratio. So again, making sure that we use that money really wisely is going to be a key priority for us.

Stanley Stoker Elliott -- Stifel, Nicolaus and Company -- Anlayst

Yeah. I know it's certainly great set up. Listen, thanks for the time. Appreciate it and best luck.

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Stanley.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Adam Thalhimer with Thompson and Davis. Your line is open.

Adam Robert Thalhimer -- Thompson, Davis and Company -- Analyst

Hey, good morning. Great quarter.

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Adam.

Adam Robert Thalhimer -- Thompson, Davis and Company -- Analyst

Ward, I'm curious, I wanted to ask about residential first. The permit activity has slowed at least on a national basis, what are you seeing on the ground in your markets?

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

I guess, what I would say is this, if you look at our top 10 states, there's several things worth noting. We're clearly outperforming in the nation. So if we look at our top 10 as you said, national permits relatively flat. Our top 10 are up 4. If we look at single-family, they're up to 2. If you look at multifamily, we're up 9 versus the nation up 1. So I think that's just underscores why where you are in this business matters so desperately. We're seeing affordability best in places like the Midwest, the Southeast and Southwest. And we think if you look at those regions of the country, that's simply where we have a very notable geographic advantage.

And if you look at where the population trends are going, we like where we're sitting there as well. So as we look at housing, and again it was something I tried to speak to in my prepared remarks. We see that in Martin Marietta geographies continuing to be very attractive. The piece of it that surprised me Adam has been the resilience of multi-family. And I think in many respects, multi-family is continue to be resilient because homeowners and homebuilders are shifting to more affordable homes right now. But at the same time, there's some real estate that has to be acquired for them to do that. So I think we're going to end up with something on multi-family the continues to look attractive and I think we've got the next leg of single-family on affordable res that's still ahead of us.

Adam Robert Thalhimer -- Thompson, Davis and Company -- Analyst

That's helpful, thanks. And then I wanted to ask about thoughts on M&A in general, kind of piggyback on Stanley's question I guess, because you ended his questions saying guys have a lot of cash, it's important to figure out how to deploy it here. As it relates to any large deals, I mean, do you guys think you need to pay down debt before you pull off a large deal?

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

We're going to try to keep the appropriate balance and we're going to be moved by -- what is the deal. I mean at the end of the day, what I think people expect us to do is to do the right transactions for the long term Martin Marietta shareholder. And I think that was TXI. I think that was swamping the river for the Rockies. I think that was doing Bluegrass. And if you look at -- your question is specifically around large transactions. If you look at the large transactions that we've done as a company and what we've been able to do relative to integrating those synergizing those transactions. I think we've got an incredibly capable team of people here who assess those transactions. And then also an incredibly capable team integrate those transactions.

So to the extent that large deals become available. If they do, and there in markets that we find moving. If they can be done in a fashion that builds value, we're going to be there. But equally I would suggest to you that we have been very disciplined. And when the transaction doesn't work, we will quite simply walk away from it.

Adam Robert Thalhimer -- Thompson, Davis and Company -- Analyst

Okay. Thanks, Ward.

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

You bet.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Jerry Revich with Goldman Sachs. Your line is open.

Jerry David Revich -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Yes. Hi, good morning, everyone.

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Hi, Jerry.

Jerry David Revich -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Hey, Ward, over the past 25 years, you folks have been able to compound pricing closer to 5%, in aggregates and this year, obviously an uptick from last year, but still at 4%, that's below the pricing increases that you've been able to achieve historically. So can you just talk about, is there a path to get to the historical 5% type increases from here? Can you step us through how you're thinking about it?

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

No, Jerry, I think they're clearly, is, I think several things play into that. One, what happens with the volume profile? So to your point, you're looking over 25 year period that we've been a public company for example, and what we need to step back and say as we've been through really a decade period of time, where volume has been incredibly challenged, but pricing has done very, very well. So here we are, for the first time in a long time, having a conversation about volumes up double-digits, right? And if you think back to the metric that you and I have spoken up before, Jerry, we've said, as a practical matter, you can look at aggregate volume growth, and pricing growth, and link those two things together to a degree. And our view has long then that pricing was going to lag volume modestly in a volume recovery mode.

So if you go back over that same time frame that you're speaking of, and you take that metric that I just described, I think you would find that we're brought we've been broadly very correct on that. And I think if we're hitting a point in time, where you really, you're starting to see infrastructure, get some legs, and you can see a greater series of volume build over a period of time. Candidly, in a world where barriers to entry, continue to be high and are getting higher for significant parts of the business. I think all those are the building blocks that leads you to the question that you're asking and why we feel confident on that.

Jerry David Revich -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Okay, and just to make sure, picking up the pieces that you're laying out, it sounds like you expect to have some pretty positive pricing discussions when you roll out initial 2020 pricing to your customers based on the framework that you just laid out considering how good volumes have been this year. Is that reasonable?

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

I don't want to get too far ahead of my customers, but I think it's fair to say when customers feel like they've got good backlogs, and they've got a good outlook is an easier pricing conversation with customers, Jerry.

Jerry David Revich -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Okay. And lastly, private non-res, obviously that can be a chunky business in your portfolio depending on project cadence. Can you just talk about how concentrated is the growth that you're seeing in your guidance this year? In other words, is there any risk from larger projects if they're completed over the next 12 months, and there's nothing to replace them? But how -- how broad based is that private non-res demand that you're seeing this year?

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

No, that's a great question, Jerry. And that goes in part back to some of the commentary I offered before. As I look at non-res in particular is Southwest up? Yes. Up notably in a percentage? Yes. Is mid-Atlantic, same thing? Yes. Midwest, same thing. Mideast, same thing, every one of those divisions that I just called out for you, from a percentage change perspective on non-res are up double-digits. And many of these projects tend to be longer term projects. The one thing I did mention before is we're going to sell about a million tons this year into some of the large Gulf energy projects. And again, those have been slow and coming. They tend to be multi-year.

And part of what I like about that Jerry is in that's -- this year, we see probably five more projects that will be out for bid or award late this year, early next year, that's probably 3 million tons on those. Again, these are just broad projects. I'm not saying we're going to get these. And then there's tiling on another five or six that we think is a little bit farther out than that. That's about 11.5 million tons on those. So again, those are those large impact energy projects, separate and distinct from the share plays, the warehouse and the distribution, the wind farms and the data centers. So again, we seek what we think is very attractive, widespread to your question, very specifically growth in non-res.

Jerry David Revich -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Okay. Thank you very much.

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

You're welcome. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Brent Thielman with D.A. Davidson. Your line is open.

Brent Thielman -- D.A. Davidson and Company -- Analyst

Great, thank you for fitting me in. Ward, great quarter. You talked a bit about this impact of base stone clean stone mix on ASP. I'm curious, how those dynamics shape your guidance expectations for pricing for the second half of the year? I mean, are you factoring in a little more of an unfavorable mix there?

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, we're probably factoring in a modest, more favorable product mix on that infrastructure piece of that probably modestly more favorable geographic mix in some respects. So that they may wash themselves out to a degree. I think one thing that's always incumbent on us at the end of the quarter is to walk you through it and give you but the puts and takes are on it. But again, my view on base work, just to be really clear, Brent, has always been a very positive view on base. Because what I know is, if we had the privilege of putting base down on a job, the day and the hour is going to come that we will likely put clean stone on top of that base. So it tends to be longer term, more mature type work and that's what we do best.

Brent Thielman -- D.A. Davidson and Company -- Analyst

And Ward, is there President for when you start to see those clean stone deliveries or is it pretty wide ranging?

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

It's pretty wide ranging, but I would tend to put six to nine months after base that you start to see notable clean stone going on top of it.

Brent Thielman -- D.A. Davidson and Company -- Analyst

Okay. And then I just want to follow-up on Colorado. It's been a great story for Martin Marietta for a long time, notwithstanding a long winter there. Any thoughts on the overall market, I know the housing private side has been really strong for you for quite some time. Is this transition the infrastructure, I guess big enough to continue to support the growth outlook there?

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, I think you've got several things. One, I think you do have a good infrastructure play and good private place there. I think the other thing that's worth noting is you do have to play some plays, particularly in the northern part of that state. And part of what we tried to do is we try to be very visionary going in as depletion place occur and building rail yards. And our highway 34 rail yard, which is just coming on really this year in Weld County, which is north of Denver, but south of Cheyenne is an important part of the growth story in that state. And we think we are extraordinarily well positioned in Northern Colorado, and in Denver, and now in Southern Colorado. So remember, when we initially went into that marketplace with our asset swap, it was really a Denver North business.

And now after some ball ponds that we did, several years after the initial river for the Rockies transaction, it puts us up and down that I-25 corridor in Colorado in a way that really others don't possess right now. And that's 80 plus percent of the population in the state, and in a state that has very nice population demographics, and very high environmental barriers to entry. So we think all that tallies up to what we feel like can continue to be a nice growth story for that business.

Brent Thielman -- D.A. Davidson and Company -- Analyst

Okay, great. Thank you, best of luck.

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Brent.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Michael Wood with Nomura Instinet. Your line is now open.

Ryan Coyne -- Nomura Instinet -- Analyst

Good morning. This is Ryan calling on from Mike. You spoke to where you're seeing the most success in residential North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. But weather aside, which geographic pockets are giving you the most challenges in terms of underlying demand trends?

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Relative to residential for the ex-weather? I guess what I would say is, if we're looking in Florida looks good. Texas looks good. Maryland looks good. South Carolina looks good. And North Carolina multifamily looks good. I would guess that if we're looking for, where's it tougher, I guess maybe parts of the Midwest probably are not seeing the same degree of housing starts that you might see in more of the Southeast and Southwest. But again, that's not a big surprise to us, because you really see stronger population demographics moving south and toward the coastal areas.

Ryan Coyne -- Nomura Instinet -- Analyst

Great. And then cost on labor, just as cost earlier, but I'm just quickly on asphalt. Can you speak to where you staying in terms of liquid asphalt cost and what your -- in the second half?

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Sure. Look liquid asphalt costs are up there up about 15%, so if we're looking at Q2 cost per ton, it was about $443. That was up just to be clear, about $67 over prior year. We're taking full year price average might be up about 450 per ton, that's about a 12% year-over-year part. Again, what we're seeing in and hot mix is actually pretty good pricing on what we're doing as well. And then here's what I like about our hot mix business. And keep in mind, it's uniquely a Colorado business. Our current backlog on hot mix customers is considerably over where it was last year. We're looking at about a 40% increase over where it was last year.

And as we spoke earlier, infrastructure backlog is up significantly as Colorado duty and the municipalities in that states have increased their funding. But equally important residential backlog has increased year-over-year, as homebuilders remain bullish and the market demand is increased there. So again a very nice public and private story for us relative to hot mix in the Colorado market.

Ryan Coyne -- Nomura Instinet -- Analyst

Thank you.

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

You're welcome.

Operator

Thank you and we have a question from Adrian Huerta with J.P. Morgan. Your line is open.

Adrian E. Huerta -- JP Morgan -- Analyst

Thank you, Ward and Jim for taking my question and congrats on the results. One on the labor market again. Given the tight conditions, what are the challenges that contractors are facing to grow labor further and probably more specifically in states like Colorado and Texas? And my second question is regarding potential M&A. Given your large exposure to aggregate of around 70% of gross profits. How do you see and the outlook for aggregate cement and other downstream products? What is your target? Or what would you like to have in terms of mix in the long term so that you can work on acquisitions to get to that target? Thanks.

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Adrian, thanks for your question. I guess what I would say is relative to labor, if you look and see where the lowest unemployment numbers are, those will be the areas that contractors are struggling most. So is that at times a struggle for them and portions of the Southwest? Sure. Is it a time of struggle in Colorado? I have no doubt that it is. And at times even a struggle in Southeast. At the same time, I think what we're seeing is contractors are paying more now because I think they see more demand. And so I think that the market has responded in many respects in a way that you would have expected the market to.

With respect to growing our business, we're an aggregate slow business. You've heard us say it for a long time, it is aggregates lead strategic cement targeted downstream, but we began with aggregates and began with that for a reason. And we do aggregates, we think very, very well. And those are the businesses that we are most moved by and those are the businesses that we will be disproportionally focused on and it's the ones that have taken us through 25 years and put us in a position that we believe that we've been able to build shareholder value very consistently. And it's a play book that we are going to stick to because we know it and we think we are good at it.

Adrian E. Huerta -- JP Morgan -- Analyst

Very clear. Thank you, Ward.

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. And I am showing no further questions at this time. I would like to turn the call back to Mr. Ward Nye for any closing remarks.

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you for joining our second quarter 2019 earnings conference call. With our steadfast commitment to the disciplined execution of our strategic plan and world-class attributes of our business, Martin Marietta is well positioned to deliver continued growth and enhance shareholder value. We believe 2019 will be another record year for Martin Marietta and we look forward to discussing our third quarter 2019 results in few months. As always, we're available for any follow-up questions. Thanks you for your time and your continued support of Martin Marietta.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 67 minutes

Call participants:

Suzanne Osberg -- Vice President, Investor Relations

Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

James Nickolas -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Trey Grooms -- Stephens -- Analyst

Kathryn Thompson -- Thompson Research Group -- Analyst

Scott Schrier -- Citigroup -- Analyst

Philip Ng -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Garik Shmois -- Longbow Research -- Analyst

Stanley Stoker Elliott -- Stifel, Nicolaus and Company -- Anlayst

Adam Robert Thalhimer -- Thompson, Davis and Company -- Analyst

Jerry David Revich -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Brent Thielman -- D.A. Davidson and Company -- Analyst

Ryan Coyne -- Nomura Instinet -- Analyst

Adrian E. Huerta -- JP Morgan -- Analyst

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