StockMarketWire.com - Compagnie de Saint-Gobain's recurring net income rose by 25.2% to €552m in the first half of the year with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation up 6.7% at €1,886m from a restated €1,767m.

First-half sales were up 4.8% to €19,860m, after reclassification of the Packaging business (including Verallia North America) within 'net income from discontinued operations' in the income statement.

After this restatement, changes in group structure had a negative 0.3% impact on sales. Exchange rates continued to have a strong positive impact (4.6%), chiefly driven by the US dollar and sterling.

On a like-for-like basis, sales edged up 0.5%. Volumes were stable over the first half and rose 1.5% in the second quarter alone.

Amid low raw material cost inflation and energy cost deflation, prices continued to rise slightly, up 0.5% over the first half. After a slight decline in the first quarter, the three months to June 30 saw growth in all regions except France and Germany. By business, the first half confirmed the upturn in Flat Glass and the expected contraction in Exterior Solutions, related mainly to price levels in the Roofing business.

The group's operating income climbed 7.8% on a reported basis and remained stable like-for-like versus first-half 2014 due to the absence of volume growth. Before the reclassification of the Packaging business and on a like-for-like basis, operating income moved up 1.2%. The group's operating margin widened 0.2 points year-on-year, to 6.4%.

Chairman and chief executive Pierre-André de Chalendar said: "After a first quarter marked by a tough basis for comparison, second-quarter sales returned to volume growth, driven by the rebound in North America on the back of an upturn in Roofing and by good momentum in Asia, emerging countries and Western Europe except France and Germany.

"First-half operating income and our outlook for the rest of the year confirm our objective of a further like-for-like improvement in operating income in 2015 along with continuing high levels of free cash flow."








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