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Materials group Saint-Gobain’s results blow Covid away

Published on July 29, 2021

French building materials giant Saint-Gobain on Thursday reported an 88 percent surge in net profit for the first half of 2021, as the global economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

It hit 1.2 billion euros ($1.5 billion), a gain of 88.4 percent from the same period in 2019, before the pandemic struck, a statement said.

In the first half of 2020 as lockdowns brought construction activity to a grinding halt, the group had suffered a loss of 434 million euros.

New chief executive Benoit Bazin told a telephone press conference “we have completely moved beyond the 2020 Covid crisis.”

The first half of 2021 was marked by new record results, and “Saint-Gobain is now on a new growth and profitability trajectory,” he said.

The group is “affirming its position as a leading player in decarbonisation solutions for construction and industry,” he added.

On the back of a renovation boom in Europe and new construction in the Americas and the Asia-Pacific region, group sales gained 24.6 percent in the first half compared with 2020, to 22.1 billion euros.

Sales were 2.1 percent higher than in the first six months of 2019.

Prices for building prices have soared through the roof since economies around the world began to bounce back.

Saint-Gobain’s profit margin gained 10.7 percent as its operating income rose to 2.38 billion euros.

“We are targeting a very strong increase in operating income over full-year 2021 to a new all-time high,” added Bazin, the group’s former second-in-command who took over the top spot on July 1.

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