Martin Marietta Corp.'s sales and profits this year will surpass the record results of 1978, Chairman J. Donald Rauth predicted at the company's annual meeting here today.

The stockholders' meeting followed a ground-breaking ceremony Wednesday for an $80 million cement plant that will replace the company's existing plant in Buffalo, Iowa. The new plant is the single largest capital expenditure in the company's history and is reputed to be the industry's most modern plant in terms of technology.

Profit margins may be squeezed this yhear by the company's efforts to comply with the Carter administration's wage-price guidelines, Rauth said.

"We are in compliance and we intend to stay in compliance," he said. As a result, "Martin Marietta will perhaps forego some of the profit that it might otherwise have expected to earn."

Nonetheless, Rauth preicted that Martin Marietta's 1979 financial results would surpass those of 1978-record sales of $1.758 billion and record profits of $136 million ($5.54 a share).

Last year's momentum has continued so far this year, he said, pointing out that the company had record first-quater sales and earnings.

Inflation has helped to boost Martin Marietta's earnings figures, Rauth said. But "we have invested-and are continuing to ivest-heavily to produce real growth and better profits," he said.

"We are investing large sums of money-far larger than Martin Marietta has budgeted before-for capital expasion," Rauth said, pointing out that this years's budget for capital expansion is $280 million.

Reflected in taht budget are the company's plans to replace its cement(See MARTIN, D3, Col.6) (MARTIN, From D1) plant here and add an aluminum recycling plant to its aluminum rolling mill in Lewisport, Ky. Both projects are being started this year.

Rauth said energy efficiency is an important theme in the design of new plants-particularly those in the company's energy-intensive cement and aluminum groups.

For example, Rauth said the company's new cement plant in Iowa will use 10 percent less energy than the existing plant when it is put into operation in 1981, despite the fact it will relected at the company's annual meeting. CAPTION: Picture 1, Artist's drawing of Martin Marietta Corp.'s cement plant in Iowa, on which work started Wednesday. AP; Picture 2, From left, Martin Marietta president Thomas Pownall and cement division executives David LeVine and Edmund Seyfried turn shovel at groundbreaking. AP