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European building materials supplier Saint-Gobain reported first-quarter sales of €10.2 billion (US$13.4 billion), a year-over-year increase of 3.7 percent. Organic sales edged up 0.9 percent.
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"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," CEO Pierre-André de Chalendar. "… Trading volumes remained satisfactory but varied widely from one region to the next. The rebound in US housing starts helped counter slacker activity in Europe (due partly to harsh weather conditions in February) and the slowdown in Asia."
Sales in France and other Western European countries slipped 0.7 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. Sales for Building Distribution and Packaging (Verallia) as well as Insulation held firm, but failed to fully offset the sharp downturn in Pipe and the decline in Flat Glass.
North America posted 10.1 percent organic growth on the back of a sharp upturn in sales volumes across businesses linked to construction (CP and Building Distribution). All Group businesses in the region enjoyed favorable sales price trends amid upbeat industrial markets and household consumption.
Growth was weak in Asia and emerging countries (0.6 percent), as contraction in Asian operations (particularly in China and South Korea) offset ongoing bullish conditions in Latin America and small growth gains in Eastern Europe.