2023 Annual Results-Record Operating Margin and Free Cash Flow


• Good resilience in sales, down 0.9% like-for-like despite a difficult environment in new construction in Europe

• Record operating margin of 11.0% (up in all Regions) and record operating income at constant exchange rates

• Record free cash flow of €3.9bn, with a cash conversion ratio of 62%

• 34% reduction in CO2 emissions vs 2017 (scope 1 and 2)

• Total shareholder return (TSR) of 51% in 2023, with €1.6bn of share buybacks and dividends. Dividend of €2.10 (+5%) recommended for 2023

• 2024 outlook: despite a context which remains difficult in certain markets, the Group expects a double-digit operating margin for the fourth consecutive year

Benoit Bazin, Chief Executive Officer of Saint-Gobain, commented:

“In a difficult macroeconomic environment with lower volumes, Saint-Gobain once again demonstrated the strength of its “Grow & Impact” strategy and of its positioning as the worldwide leader in light and sustainable construction. Our cost actions and well-managed pricing helped drive an improvement in the operating margin and in free cash flow generation, which both reached all-time highs. Thanks to strict capital allocation in terms of both capex and acquisitions, the Group now generates almost two-thirds of its earnings in North America, emerging countries and Asia- Pacific, and I am delighted with the strong contribution that our planned acquisition of CSR in Australia would bring. Supported by the impressive agility and dedication of our teams, Saint- Gobain is outperforming and demonstrating its resilience in contrasting markets, benefiting from its proximity to customers and its unique range of comprehensive innovative solutions. Saint-Gobain is determined to remain at the forefront of sustainable construction with the launch of low-carbon solutions, while reducing its own CO2 footprint, which is now 34% lower than in 2017 (scope 1 and 2).

I am confident that 2024 will be another successful year for Saint-Gobain, thanks to good momentum in the fast-growing North American, Asian and emerging markets and to the seamless integration of our recent acquisitions, particularly in construction chemicals. In Western Europe, renovation will continue to show resilience, while new construction will remain difficult but will gradually reach a low point country by country, in a market that remains structurally healthy given its construction needs. In this context, in 2024 we expect a double-digit operating margin for the fourth consecutive year.”

Success of the "Grow & impact" strategic plan

An attractive profitable and sustainable growth profile

The “Grow & Impact” plan rolled out as from 2021 has placed the Group on a financial trajectory that has seen an acceleration in growth of its results, cash flow and value creation, delivering on all the objectives set three years ago:

• Strong organic growth of 6.4% per annum on average1, supported by an unrivalled range of sustainable solutions accounting for almost three-quarters of Group sales;

• Creation of a world leader in construction chemicals, with annual sales of €5.7 billion (pro forma for recent acquisitions and divestments), thanks to strong organic growth and the 30 acquisitions carried out in the last three years;

• Pro forma operating income well-balanced between the three geographic zones: 32% in North America, 31% in Asia and emerging countries and 37% in Western Europe;

• Record profitability and value creation, with on average over three years: an operating margin of 10.5%, a free cash flow conversion ratio of 58% and a ROCE of 15.8%;

• Significant efficiency gains thanks to the organization by country with 90% of CEOs native to their country, resulting in close proximity to customers, stronger pricing power and enhanced results-driven accountability for local teams;

• Record-high shareholder return: €4.1 billion returned to shareholders over a three-year period through share buybacks and dividends. With almost €1.6 billion in shares bought back over three years, the Group is ahead of the €2 billion target it had set for the five-year period 2021-2025.

Sustainability is at the heart of the Group’s strategy

Saint-Gobain is rolling out its range of high-performing sustainable solutions, aimed at maximizing the positive impact for its customers, including:

• Low-carbon solutions: ORAÉ®, the world’s first-ever low-carbon glass (42% less CO2), and Glasroc® X and H plasterboard reinforced with Adfors fiber glass mat with a carbon footprint two to three times lower than traditional alternatives;

• Solutions for the circular economy: Placo® Infinaé 13 plasterboard made with over 50% recycled plaster;

• Solutions reducing carbon emissions for our customers: Chryso EnviroMix®, allowing a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions from concrete.

Saint-Gobain is also making rapid progress in minimizing its environmental footprint, notably thanks to several innovations in its production processes:

• Start-up of the world’s first-ever 100% electric production of plasterboard in Norway, using 100% renewable electricity;

• World’s first-ever test production of glass in a furnace powered by over 30% hydrogen in Germany;

• Very-low-carbon production of siding in the US (with 100% renewably-sourced electricity), plasterboard in India (thanks to the use of biomass) and acoustic ceilings in Finland (via the use of biogas and recycled glass).

In 2023, Saint-Gobain invested €223 million in capital expenditure and research & development for decarbonization. Its investment decisions are underpinned by the internal carbon prices (in force since 2016) that have once again been raised from €75 to €100 per tonne for capex investments and from €150 to €200 per tonne for research & development projects. Thanks to these efforts, the Group was able to reduce its scope 1 and 2 CO2 emissions by 34% (to 8.8 million tonnes) and together with the growth in its earnings, carbon intensity per euro of sales and EBITDA fell by 44% and 56%, respectively, in 2023 versus 2017.

Saint-Gobain has also increased the proportion of carbon-free electricity that it uses, which reached 57% of its consumption in 2023 (versus 52% in 2022). Thanks to eight new renewable electricity supply agreements (Power Purchase Agreements or Virtual Power Purchase Agreements) signed since the start of 2023 (US, India, France, South Africa, Egypt, Italy, Sweden and China), around two-thirds of the electricity used by the Group will be carbon-free by 2025.

In terms of safety, the Group’s accident frequency rate with and without lost time (TRAR, including subcontractors and temporary staff) was 1.3 (down 18% year-on-year) and has been halved over the past five years.

Lastly, stakeholder engagement at Saint-Gobain increased once again in 2023:

• 87% of Group employees took part in the me@Saint-Gobain survey, with an 83% engagement rate and a strong feeling of belonging for 89% of employees (versus an average benchmark of 73%);

• As the global industry leader, the Group launched the Sustainable Construction Observatory in 2023, with three Sustainable Construction Talks held during the year (Paris, New York during Climate Week and Dubai during COP28);

• Saint-Gobain also supported around 100,000 trade professionals in France in 2023 in the area of training and certification, including in the RGE (Recognized Guarantor of the Environment) certification; over 80% of building projects eligible for the MaPrimeRénov’ household stimulus package use the advisory and estimation tool CAP RENOV developed and commercialized by Saint-Gobain.

Asia-Pacific: good sales momentum and record margin

The Region reported 5.3% organic growth over the year, with good momentum in volumes and a record operating margin at 12.6% (versus 12.1% in 2022).

India posted another year of outperformance thanks to its comprehensive and innovative range of solutions, the successful integration of recent acquisitions in insulation and the start-up of new capacity (plasterboard, glass and construction chemicals). Saint-Gobain plays a pioneering role in promoting low-carbon buildings in India: the Group has launched the first low-carbon production of plaster and the first low-carbon glass in the country, with a 40% reduction in CO2 emissions (scope 1 and 2).

In a difficult construction market in China, the Group continued to capture market share and increase volumes, thanks to its light construction solutions and its differentiated range of products and services (moisture resistance, fire resistance, improved air quality, digital marketing). The Group inaugurated its fourth plasterboard factory and its fifth gypsum factory, in Yuzhou (Henan province), thereby expanding its footprint towards inner China.

In South-East Asia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines reported strong growth, driven by an enriched range of solutions and recent acquisitions (Best Crete in construction chemicals and Hume Cemboard Industries in light construction in Malaysia). Vietnam outperformed a difficult market in 2023 thanks to the rollout of personalized logistics and digital services.

2024 outlook and strategic priorities

In a geopolitical and macroeconomic environment that remains challenging, Saint-Gobain will continue to demonstrate its resilience and its excellent operating performance, thanks to its focused strategy and its proactive commercial and industrial initiatives.

Saint-Gobain expects some of its markets to remain difficult in 2024, especially in the first half of the year owing to a high comparison basis, with a contrasting situation between Europe and the rest of the world:

• Europe: resilience in renovation; new construction remaining difficult before gradually reaching its low point country by country;

• Americas: construction to hold firm in North America (new build and renovation); recovery expected during the year in Latin America;

• Asia-Pacific: good growth in most countries;

• High Performance Solutions: Construction Chemicals to see dynamic growth; Mobility to hold firm and a contrasting situation on industrial markets in terms of demand.

Against this backdrop, in 2024 the Group will continue to implement the strategic priorities set out in its “Grow & Impact” plan for 2021-2025:

  1. Continue our initiatives focused on profitability and free cash flow generation
    • Constant focus on the price-cost spread;
    • Productivity initiatives and swift adjustments from country to country where necessary;
    • Capital expenditure slightly above 4% of sales, with strict allocation to high-growth markets.

  2. Outperform our markets by strengthening our profitable growth profile

    • Enrich our comprehensive range of integrated, differentiated and innovative solutions offering sustainability and performance for our customers;

    • Continue our value-creating targeted acquisitions and divestments dynamic, and benefit from the successful integration of recent acquisitions.

  3. Continued focus on our ESG roadmap as leader in sustainable construction

    • Promote our positive-impact and low-carbon solutions among our customers;

    • Extend the decarbonization of construction to the entire value chain, playing our full role as leader in light and sustainable construction.


Despite a context which remains difficult in certain markets, in 2024 Saint-Gobain expects a double-digit operating margin for the fourth consecutive year


1.Average organic growth over 2021-2023: +6.9% in 2021 (+13.8% for 2021/2019 divided by two), +13.3% in 2022 and -0.9% in 2023.