Solid Sales Growth in First-Quarter 2023


•      Organic growth: +4.7%

•      Good level of pricing, helping to generate a positive price-cost spread

•      Confirmation of the Group’s resilience in a difficult environment

•      Confidence in the 2023 outlook: operating margin between 9% and 11%

Like-for-like sales progressed by 4.7%, with all segments reporting growth. In a difficult geopolitical and macroeconomic environment, the Group continued to outperform its markets thanks to the pertinence of its strategic positioning at the heart of energy and decarbonization challenges, and to the strength of its local organization by country. 

In an environment that remains inflationary, the Group continued to effectively serve and support its customers while managing energy and raw material cost evolution. Prices were up by 10.2% over the quarter, owing to price increases implemented last year and certain additional measures taken locally at the start of 2023, generating a positive price-cost spread overall. Volumes were down by 5.5% with a moderate market slowdown as expected, which reflects a contrasting situation: a marked decline in new construction but good resilience overall in renovation. The Group is proactively taking the commercial and industrial measures necessary to adapt to its environment and to continue its excellent operating performance in order to deliver an attractive operating margin despite difficult markets.

On a reported basis, sales progressed by 3.3% to €12.4 billion, including a negative currency effect of 0.5%. The Group structure impact reduced sales by 0.9% and results from the ongoing optimization of the Group’s profile, both in terms of disposals – mainly in distribution (UK, Poland and Denmark), glass processing activities, Crystals & Detectors and ceramics for the steel industry – and in terms of acquisitions, mainly in construction chemicals (GCP Applied Technologies “GCP” and Impac in Mexico), in exterior products (Kaycan in North America) and in insulation (Rockwool India Pvt Ltd.).

Proven resilience in a difficult environment

In an environment characterized by a marked decline in new construction and good resistance overall in renovation, the first quarter demonstrated the Group’s resilience thanks notably to the rollout of the initiatives set out in its “Grow & Impact” plan.

-     Strategically, the Group has benefited from the optimization of its portfolio (one-third of sales rotated since 2018) which has reinforced its profitable growth profile, and from its strong positioning on the structurally supportive renovation market (new energy efficiency regulations and subsidies).

-     Operationally, the Group has leveraged its efficient local organization with close proximity to customers, priority given to the development of low-carbon solutions and processes, and results-driven accountability for country teams. This has allowed us to achieve in particular stronger pricing power (constant focus on the price-cost spread) and to take proactive measures to adapt to the local environment wherever necessary.

Asia-Pacific: good sales momentum

The Asia-Pacific Region reported 5.0% organic growth over the quarter against a high prior-year comparison basis.

India reported a good performance, thanks to market share gains and an innovative, integrated offer, enhanced by its recent acquisition of the glass wool insulation leader U.P. Twiga. Saint-Gobain continues to play a pioneering role in promoting “green” buildings thanks to its sustainable construction solutions. In an environment that continued to see disruptions owing to the health situation early in the quarter, China nevertheless delivered moderate growth. South-East Asia continued to see good growth owing to a diversified offer focusing on integrated and high value-added solutions.