French glassmaker Saint-Gobain sees a reassuring outlook for the second half of this year, based on a volume increase in the U.S. construction materials market, the company said recently. "The second half will be better than that of 2000 for construction materials," Saint-Gobain Chairman Jean-Louis Beffa told the French newspaper Journal des Finances. "The second positive element is the good performance of the pipelines branch. The third is the seasonality of the sector for the distribution of construction materials, in which growth is traditionally stronger in the second half than the first," he added. He said energy costs, which penalized the glassmaker and construction company in the second part of 2000, had begun to decrease. However, Beffa said a negative aspect would be the flattening out of the ceramics and abrasives division from last year as a result of a general decline in capital goods investment.