StockMarketWire.com - Compagnie de Saint-Gobain's operating income rose to euro2,636m in 2015 - 2.2% up on like-for-like basis.

Sales came in at euro39,623 million, up 3.3% on a reported basis driven by the positive 3.0% currency impact, and up 0.4% like-for-like.

Optimisation of the group's portfolio in terms of acquisitions and disposals led to a negative 0.1% Group structure impact after reclassification of the Packaging business.

Volumes failed to recover during the year (up 0.1%), due chiefly to the sharp decline in France which continued over the second half. Amid falling raw material and energy costs, prices were stable in the fourth quarter but edged up 0.3% over the year as a whole.

Over the full year, the group was buoyed by good growth from Flat Glass and upbeat momentum in Interior Solutions. Ceramic proppants in the oil and gas industry continued to weigh on High-Performance Materials. Exterior Solutions retreated due to a sharp contraction in Pipe in the second half and Building Distribution was down slightly over the full year but improved in the fourth quarter. The group's operating margin came in at 6.7% (6.6% in 2014) and at 6.9% for the six months to December 31, 2015. Operating income climbed 2.2% on a like-for-like basis, partly helped by favourable weather conditions in Europe towards the end of the year. In 2015 the group met its capital expenditure target of euro1.35 billion and cost savings target of €360 million compared to 2014. Industrial optimisation efforts rolled out over the past few years have notably enabled Flat Glass to continue delivering a strong rally in its performance. The group also exceeded its operating working capital requirement target, with a reduction of two days' sales (one day based on constant exchange rates) to 26 days, a record low for the Group and a reflection of its ongoing efforts to maintain cash discipline.

Chairman and chief executive Pierre-Andre de Chalendar said: "Saint-Gobain delivered improved earnings in 2015 in a sharply contrasted economic climate. The improvement was dampened by continued weak trading in France, hurt in particular by the sharp contraction in Pipe in the second half of the year, despite the first signs of an upturn in construction indicators.

"The Group completed a key stage in the reorganisation of its business portfolio, with the sale of Verallia on very favourable terms, and continues to pursue its plan to acquire a controlling interest in Sika after obtaining all antitrust approvals prior to closing the deal.

"In a still very volatile macroeconomic environment, we will continue to adapt in 2016 and are targeting a further like-for-like improvement in operating income."




At 8:32am: [LON:COD] Compagnie De StGobain share price was -0.66p at 34.93p



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