Essex-based rebar fabricator Kierbeck has raised the price of its cut- and-bent bar by 4 per cent to 239 a tonne.
Senior staff at the firm said prices in the market were unrealistic at present and that other manufacturers would follow suit with similar price hikes. Chief executive Finbarr Lynch said that Kierbecks current price of 230 was unsustainable.
He said: We have to put an end to this madness. Most buyers know that current prices are an aberration. They know they cannot last.
I doubt that any fabricator would even claim to be breaking even at todays prices.
Mr Lynch said that his company, which has become one of the leading suppliers of cut-and-bent reinforcement in recent years, now represents the benchmark for the industry. And he said that other fabricators were bound to follow suit and also raise prices.
He said: We wouldnt be doing this unilaterally unless we were confident our competitors would follow our lead.
Rebar prices are at their lowest level for three years.
One buyer told Construction News that he recently placed a small order for bar at the same rate he paid for a discounted bulk order 15 years ago. But he said that fabricators were victims of their own folly.
He said: If Finbarr raises his price to 239, then what happens when somebody else tenders for a big job say 5,000 tonnes at the current price of 230? Thats 45,000 down the drain for the contractor, so which ones he going to choose?
Keith Roberts, chief executive of rival fabricator ROM, said the firm would concentrate on prefabricated mesh and not consider bidding at less than 245 a tonne for cut-and-bent bar.
I couldnt live with Finbarrs prices, added Mr Roberts.