BREAKING NEWS: Dallas building material companies expect windfall from hurricane
In a feature from the Dallas Morning News, by Will Deener:
Local companies that make or provide basic materials - roofing, cement and steel - saw dramatic gains in their stock prices Monday as they stand to gain from the cleanup after Hurricane Katrina.
Dallas-based ElkCorp, which makes roofing and building products, was among the area's biggest gainers, up 8 percent to $31.68. Elk chief executive Thomas Karol said demand for its products was already high because of previous hurricanes that hit Florida.
"We are running at capacity in our five plants, so I don't know how much more we can do," Mr. Karol said. "We are running 24 hours a day, seven days a week."
Shares of U.S. Lime & Minerals Inc., which manufactures lime and limestone products, climbed almost 7 percent Monday to $25.74. Like Elk, demand for its products was already high, with new-home construction near record levels in recent months.
U.S. Lime's stock price has doubled over the summer. Similarly, Texas Industries Inc., which makes steel, cement and concrete products, had a stout 4 percent gain Monday. And its shares are up about 70 percent over the summer.
Although Hurricane Katrina provided plenty of misery, Mr. Karol said that luckily the brunt of its wrath occurred in less-densely populated areas. The Florida hurricanes, which struck some of the large population centers, increased overall demand for roofing material by 10 percent to 15 percent.
He expects Hurricane Katrina to increase demand by no more than 3 percent.
"That's still a lot of new demand in a market that is already tight," Mr. Karol said. "But we will do everything we can to get the products down there."