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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Central Pre-Mix strikes deal with Spokane Rock

Spokane Rock Products Inc. will lay off 42 workers as it sells its asphalt operations to Central Pre-Mix Concrete Co.

The deal between the two companies also calls for Spokane Rock to take over CPM’s concrete and aggregate business in the Tri-Cities.

Both Central Pre-Mix and Spokane Rock Products compete in the rock, concrete, asphalt, sand and gravel business for construction projects across the region.

Inland Asphalt – owned by the same parent company that operates Central Pre-Mix – will run Spokane Rock’s asphalt mixing plant, which has been in operation since 2002 near Eighth Avenue and Havana Street.

In return, Spokane Rock Products takes over the 70-worker rock and concrete division Central Pre-Mix has operated in Pasco for years.

The deal includes a monetary payment, but Spokane Rock President Steve Robinson said he could not reveal the amount.

Inland Asphalt and Central Pre-Mix are part of Oldcastle Materials, the American arm of CRH plc, a multinational company based in Dublin. Oldcastle purchased Central Pre-Mix in 1997.

The 42 displaced asphalt workers have been asked to apply for jobs in the plant once it prepares to open this spring under the new owners, Robinson said. “Whether they’re hired depends on Inland,” he said.

Robinson said thin profit margins in the competitive asphalt sector prompted the company’s shift toward concrete and aggregate materials.

Spokane Rock Products was launched in 1999 after Acme Materials and Construction was taken over by Central Pre-Mix. That sale allowed for a new company to compete for a share in the materials market, Robinson said.

Spokane Rock Products will continue to have 132 workers in its concrete and aggregate rock operation. Most of them are drivers.

Robinson said the region’s construction industry still hasn’t recovered from the recession. “Most of our work is for government agencies, such as the cities (Spokane and Spokane Valley) and Spokane County.

“The county has greatly reduced the paving it’s doing,” in large part after completing the new sewer installations in Spokane Valley, he added.

“Basically, on the asphalt side of construction, it’s a very competitive market,” Robinson said.

Construction activity in the Tri-Cities is generally more robust than here, he said.

Spokane Rock Products has a concrete-aggregate operation there with about 50 workers. Spokane Rock will rehire the majority of the 70 or so Central Pre-Mix employees in Pasco, Robinson said.