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03-05-2012 18:59:00

Saint-Gobain Sales Revenue Up; Higher Prices Offset Falling Volumes

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PARIS -(Dow Jones)- French construction materials maker Compagnie de Saint-Gobain SA (SGO.FR) said Thursday sales revenue in the first quarter of this year rose as higher prices offset falling volumes, and reiterated its cautious guidance for the full year in the face of adverse economic conditions.

"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. We continued to raise our sales prices in order to broadly offset the rise in raw material and energy costs over the year," Pierre-Andre de Chalendar, the company's chief executive said in a statement.

Saint-Gobain said its total sales rose 3.7% in the first quarter to EUR10.16 billion compared with the same period a year ago. The company raised its sales prices by 2.4%, while sales volumes fell 1.5%.

Currency fluctuations, mainly the appreciation of the world's main currencies against the euro, boosted revenue as did recent acquisitions, the company said. Excluding the effects of currency changes and revenue from recently acquired companies, sales rose 0.9%, the company said.

Saint-Gobain's sales were higher than the EUR9.94 billion median expectation from four analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.

The company reiterated its cautious guidance for 2012 of a "moderate organic growth", adding operating income and profitability will "prove resilient".

Business was stronger in North America, where sales rose 17%, following an upbeat industrial market, especially the start of a recovery in residential construction in the U.S., while sales were weaker in western Europe.

The data was released after the market closed. Saint-Gobain's shares ended down 0.4% at EUR31.87, while the local CAC-40 blue-chip index finished 0.1% lower.

-By Inti Landauro, Dow Jones Newswires; +33 1 4017 1740; inti.landauro@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 03, 2012 12:59 ET (16:59 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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