Flat glass, construction drive Saint-Gobain’s sales

By Davide Ghilotti
Published: Friday, 09 June 2017

All divisions improve sales; Construction driving growth; Emerging, developed markets positive

French construction, glass and refractory materials group Saint-Gobain SA posted a 6% growth in sales volumes in the first quarter of the year, with positive pricing effect and currency impact supporting an 8% revenue increase.

Total revenue for the quarter stood at €9.94bn ($10.83bn*) against €9.14bn at this time last year.

The company recorded growth across all of its sectors and divisions, and in all geographical areas where it has a presence, also due to a positive calendar impact for number of working days in the quarter.

Growth above 5% took place in the three main divisions – innovative materials, construction products and building distribution.

Sales in innovative materials rose 6%, boosted by higher sales in both segments, flat glass (+9%) and high performance materials (+3%).

The construction and automotive segments in emerging markets drove the uptrend in flat glass. Brazil declined slightly in construction but was up noticeably in automotive. Construction improved in the European area also.

Volume growth was the leading driver of the increase in high performance materials. The ceramics segment was negatively affected by a comparably strong performance in refractories of Q1 2016.

Construction products sales grew 9% in the quarter. The greater amount of working days during the quarter supported sales in interior solutions, which added to higher demand in western Europe and Asia. The exterior solutions business posted a 12% increase in the period, on the back of higher demand from distributors seeking to stockpile material.

Sales in building distribution were up 8%, on the back of dynamism in a number of European countries, namely Norway, Sweden, the UK, Spain and the Netherlands.

The company confirmed its outlook for the rest of 2017, expecting a gradual improvement in construction in France and western Europe, with notable growth also in North America and emerging economies in Asia.

Pierre-André de Chalendar, chairman and CEO at Saint-Gobain, said: "We confirm our target of a further like-for-like increase in operating income for the full year 2017."

*Conversions made May 2017

This article from the June issue of Industrial Minerals magazine was first   published online on 28 April  2017.