The Saint-Gobain Group recently reported 5% organic growth (3.7% price impact, 1.3% volume effect) for 2007. The Group’s five sectors all contributed to the performance, particularly activities that are linked to construction markets in Europe. This strong momentum more than offset the downturn in U.S. construction activities. Emerging countries and Asia, which account for 15% of Group sales and 19% of its operating income, continued to deliver robust growth (+16.6%) across all Group businesses. Industrial output and capital expenditure held firm in all regions.
The Flat Glass sector turned in the Group’s strongest performance, both in terms of sales (+10.4% on a reported basis and +11.2% like-for-like) and operating income (+49.4%). This reflects vibrant demand across all of its markets (construction and automotive industries) in Europe and emerging countries, sales price increases implemented in the construction glass business, and a rise in contributions from high value-added products. As a result, the sector’s operating margin rose to 12.8% from 9.4% in 2006.
Within the High-Performance Materials (HPM) sector, Ceramics, Plastics & Abrasives reported 4.5% organic growth on the back of healthy capital expenditure and industrial output worldwide. Organic growth for the sector as a whole came in at 2.2%, given the 4.2% downturn in the Reinforcements business (a significant part of which was sold to Owens Corning in November 2007). The sector’s operating margin increased to 12.3% from 10.5% last year.
Additional details are available at www.saint-gobain.com