Good first half for Saint-Gobain

Saint-Gobain have announced strong growth for the first half of 2007 with sales rising 6% to E231,779m

The results for the six months to June 30 saw increases in all sectors of the group’s business the company said, and operating income saw double-digit growth with a 15.3% rise to E2,093m.

Commenting on the results, the company said: “Business trends observed in the first quarter – which had been boosted by particularly favourable weather conditions – generally held firm over the three months to June 30, 2007. Vigorous construction markets in Europe, bolstered by the impact of regulations promoting energy efficiency in the building industry, more than offset the significant downturn in the US housing market.”

The flat glass sector delivered the Group’s strongest growth in like-for-like sales, which saw a rise of 12.9%, while the ceramics and plastics and abrasives businesses rose 5.1%.

Construction products posted a 4.1% like-for-like growth and its operating margin held up well, edging up to 13.1% (versus 12.9% in first-half 2006). Buoyant demand in construction markets across Europe and in emerging countries (76% of sales) more than offset the significant slowdown in US construction (24% of sales):

Insulation and gypsum reported solid organic growth of 6.6%. Which meant, said the company: “The upbeat trading environment in Europe, which was further boosted by energy-efficiency measures in the building industry, offset the fall in volumes and prices in the US.”

However, the company continued, exterior fittings, mortars and pipe posted very modest 0.8% growth. “US activities (siding and roofing products in particular) reported a sharp downturn, while sales of mortars and pipe in Europe and emerging countries performed well.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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