US consumption of portland cement climbed 4% from 75 Mt (82 million st) in 1992 to 78 Mt (86 million st) in 1993. While all of 1993 showed an increase in cement consumption, during the first quarter, cement consumption was lower than the first quarter of 1992 due to bad weather. The second and third quarters showed increases of about 6% over comparable quarters of 1992. The fourth quarter showed the greatest increases. Consumption in November and December increased 23% and 13%, respectively. Some of the increased consumption was attributed to highway construction as well as a jump in housing starts linked to lower interest rates. Cement consumption varied throughout the country. Montana showed an 80% gain, with New Mexico and Colorado posting 22% and 18% respectively. Mississippi had a 21% increase. Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas had an average increase of 8.5%. Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia increased cement shipments on average by 7.2%. Hawaii and California cement consumption declined 14% and 4%, respectively. As the demand for cement increased in 1993, imports of cement and clinker increased by 14% from 6.17 Mt (6.8 million st) in 1992 to 7.08 Mt (7.8 million st). Still, that level of imports was only about 45% of the high attained in 1987. The total value of imports in 1993 was $331.3 million compared to $297 million in 1992. Imports accounted for 9% of reported consumption compared to 8% in 1992. Canada, Mexico, Spain and Colombia were the principal sources of imports, accounting for 51%, 11%, 8% and 8%, respectively, of the total. The Department of Commerce conducted administrative reviews of the anti-dumping orders on gray Portland cement clinker from Mexico. Based on an analysis of the rates, the final results were amended on the anti-dumping orders. Resulting anti-dumping margins ranged from 42.74% to 53.26%. Cement exported from the United States in 1993 was 625 kt (689,000 st). This was 16% lower than in 1992 and about the same as in 1991. Canada received 80%, or 500 kt (550,000 st) of US exports. Prices increases of about 5% to 10% were instituted by the large cement companies. Before that, prices had remained constant for at least a decade. Foreign cement news Ciments Francais purchased an additional 10% of Cementos Molins for a total of 35.3%. Heidelberger Zement plans to take over the Belgian firm Cimenteries. Cimenteries owns Calaveras Cement Co. in California and Tilbury Cement in Canada. Lafarge Coppee attained full control of Ashland Cement, a Spanish cement company in which Lafarge already held 54% stake. Management and workers, backed by a consortium of Polish banks and foreign investors, offered to purchase the Gorazdze cement works, Poland's largest and most modem cement producer. The works reduced 1.9 Mt (2.1 million st) of cement in 1992 or 11.8% of the country's output. Onoda Cement Co. of Japan made plans to acquire Chichibu Cement Co. in a stock swap. The move would make Onoda Japan's largest cement producer. Cementos Mexicanos formed a joint venture company with Mobley Environmental Services to build two fuel blending plants in Mexico. The company was to supply alternate fuel for Cementos Mexicanos cement kilns. Domestic cement industry Essroc Materials Inc. acquired the marketing and sales areas of the Midwest Portland Cement Co. Holnam Inc. bought the Box Crow Cement plant in Midlothian, TX for $91 million. KRC Aggregates, a subsidiary of MDU Resources Group, Inc., acquired the Alaska Basic Industries, Inc. of Anchorage, AK. Medusa Cement purchased the Demopolis, AL, cement plant and nine terminals from Lafarge Corp. for $45 million. Lafarge Corp. planned to restructure and consolidate its 11 regional operating units into six in the cement and construction material lines. The cement restructuring was divided into western, eastern and US regions with other office locations in Calgary, Montreal, Quebec and Southfield, MI. The Lehigh Cementon plant in Cementon, NY was slated to close in early 1994. Lone Star Industries Inc. planned to sell its Nazareth, PA cement plant and several joint ventures as part of a bankruptcy plan. Independent Cement installed $1.2 million state-of-the-art equipment to reduce dust emissions. Hercules Cement planned to spend $35 million to modernize its Stockertown, PA plant to address environmental issues. Ash Grove Cement Co. was to start burning scrap tires and used oil at its Leamington, UT plant. Lafarge Corp. installed new equipment at the Davenport, IA plant to facilitate the use of waste fuels, such as tires and used plastics. Early cement shipments in 1994 were on average 5% higher than in 1993. Demand for cement is expected to outstrip capacity in some regions of the country, such as in the south Atlantic, west-south-central and mountain regions. Imports are forecast to reach 9 Mt (9.9 million st) in 1994 and 12 Mt (13.2 million st) in 1995.