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Saint-Gobain looks to build on construction momentum after record year

Saint-Gobain reports record high full-year core profit
Saint-Gobain reports record high full-year core profit   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2022
By Reuters

-Saint-Gobain reported record full-year growth and earnings on Thursday, with the owner of Celotex and Lapeyre brands citing momentum in American and Asian construction and its exposure to the European renovations market.

The French construction materials group, which posted an 18.4% rise year-on-year in organic revenue growth for 2021, said it had increased prices in an attempt to offset the impact of inflation.

“The price effect was a positive 6.7% for 2021 as a whole, steadily increasing throughout the year to stand at 9.5% in the second half and 10.3% in the fourth quarter,” Saint-Gobain said.

As power prices have curbed industrial production in Europe and left consumers with higher bills, the European Commission has called on EU states to use the 750 billion euro recovery fund to renovate buildings to cut energy use.

“If today, we had well renovated all the buildings in Europe … we would not depend on Russian gas and we would depend on a $100 barrel of oil,” Saint-Gobain Chief Executive Officer Benoit Bazin said on a call with reporters, with reference to the implications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“In a certain way, in the medium term, I think it will force all governments to move towards green energy and to decarbonise, insulate public and private buildings at full speed,” he added.

Bazin said that Brussels has estimated that 35 million buildings needed to be renovated by 2030 as part of the region’s 2050 shift towards carbon neutrality.

Saint-Gobain, which manufactures and distributes materials in sectors ranging from automotive to food and beverages, reported a 57.9% rise in operating income to 4.51 billion euros ($5.03 billion), leading to a first-time double-digit margin.

($1 = 0.8969 euros)