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European building materials supplier Saint-Gobain reported sales for the first quarter of €9.7 billion, a decrease of 4.8 percent compared to the same period a year earlier. Organic sales declined 5.4 percent.
In North America, the group benefited from robust momentum in U.S. residential construction and from resilient industrial output and household consumption. In Asia and emerging countries, trading got back into positive territory, driven mainly by a recovery in Latin America. In Western Europe, the Group’s markets contracted - severely affected by a long harsh winter - amid a general slowdown in economies across the region.
Pierre-André de Chalendar, chairman and CEO of Saint-Gobain, said, “Amid a further general slowdown in economies across Europe, the group’s first-quarter trading was severely affected by fewer working days compared to first-quarter 2012 … and by very harsh winter weather, particularly in Western Europe.
“Faced with these tough market conditions – which brisk trading in North America and a return to growth in Asia and emerging countries did not fully offset – we continue to firmly implement our action plan. In particular, we continue to raise our prices in order to broadly counter the rising cost of raw materials and energy over the year as a whole, while vigorously pursuing our cost cutting program.”