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02/06/2013

Acme Brick reopening Parker County plant after three years of being closed

In a sign of the improving economy and homebuilding market, Fort Worth-based Acme Brick Co. has reopened it plant in Bennett, just west of Weatherford, this week.

The facility had been shuttered since 2009.

"Over the course of the past year, we have seen a rebirth of activity here in the Metroplex with construction now totaling 83 million square feet and forecasted to rise by double digits in 2013," said Dennis Knautz, Acme president and CEO. "Given the recovering construction sector and the strong demand seen at other Acme plants, we believed that it is an absolute necessity to restart operations at this facility in order to have an adequate spring supply of brick for our homebuilder customers."

Acme said it also restarted a third kiln at its Texas Clay plant in Malakoff, near Athens, in December because that plant saw increased demand in 2012.

The Bennett plant was built in 1996 on the site of the company’s first brick making facility. That plant began making hard-fired bricks in 1891.

Homebuilding peaked in 2006 with construction activity reaching 182 million square feet of space, Acme said.

"We witnessed demand plummet by nearly 70 percent to a low of only 57 million square feet by the start of 2011," Knautz said. "I believe we can finally say with confidence that our local homebuilding market is back."

The Bennett plant has the capacity to produce 2 million residential brick a week, or enough brick for 150 average-sized homes, Acme said.

Acme was acquired by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway in 2000.

_ Sandra Baker

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