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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.
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