Saint-Gobain First-Quarter 2012 Sales Increase 3.7 Percent
May 4, 2012

by Sahely Mujerji,

Saint-Gobain of France posted moderate growth in sales for first-quarter 2012, up 3.7 percent from first-quarter 2011, according to the latest financial report from the company.

Sales of flat glass fell 5.6 percent, reflecting the slowdown in Asia and emerging countries, the contraction in solar markets and the European automotive industry, and faltering construction activity in Western Europe, according to the company.

Company officials say the group benefited from upbeat industrial markets in North America, and especially the start of a recovery in residential construction in the U.S., which pushed the Construction Products and Building Distribution sectors into double-digit organic growth.

Despite ongoing growth in Latin America, momentum in emerging countries and Asia slowed, due chiefly to the downturn in the Asian operations. Trading was weaker in Western Europe, compared to a 10.2 percent rise in first quarter 2011, primarily reflecting the downturn in the automotive market and to a lesser extent, the impact of harsh weather conditions in February on the construction sector.

However, trading in other industrial sectors, excluding automotive, remained satisfactory. Residential construction proved resilient overall, despite continuing contrasts between Northern Europe–Scandinavia and Germany–which continued to perform well, and Southern Europe, where conditions remained tough. France continued to enjoy upbeat trading conditions in the quarter.

“Amid an uncertain economic climate and despite a particularly tough basis for comparison, Saint-Gobain delivered further organic growth in the first quarter of 2012,” says Pierre-André de Chalendar, chairman and CEO of Saint-Gobain.

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