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Compagnie de Saint-Gobain   -  COD   

Annual Results

Released 17:13 21-Feb-2019

RNS Number : 7963Q
Compagnie de Saint-Gobain
21 February 2019










Paris, February 21, 2019


2018 Results


Increase in operating income1 of 4.5%

with H2 up 7.2%


·      Solid organic growth at 4.4%, including 4.8% in Q4. Strong pricing dynamic, up 3.0%; acceleration in H2, up 3.5%

·      Like-for-like increase in operating income of 7.2% in H2, clearly above the level achieved in H1; increase of 4.5% over the full year

·      Significant operating margin growth in H2 to 7.9%

·      Further increase in recurring net income2 of 6.0%; net income at €420 million after €2.0 billion in asset impairment

·      Slight rise in cash flow from operations; acceleration in growth capex led by emerging countries

·      Acceleration of portfolio rotation: selective acquisition strategy targeting small and mid-sized businesses for €768 million; significant divestments completed or announced for a total of over €2.4 billion in sales as part of the €3 billion target already announced; within the context of the new organization, new strategic review of the business portfolio launched which will lead to an additional dynamic of divestments and acquisitions

·      2018 dividend up to €1.33 per share, to be wholly paid in cash






































Operating income










Recurring net income2










Net attributable income










Free cash flow3










1. Like-for-like.

2. Recurring net income: net attributable income excluding capital gains and losses on disposals, asset write-downs, material non-recurring provisions and Sika income.



3. Cash flow from operations excluding the tax impact of capital gains and losses on disposals, asset write-downs and material non-recurring provisions, less capital expenditure.


Pierre-André de Chalendar, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Saint-Gobain, commented:

"As expected, our results for the second half show a significant improvement, benefiting from broadly supportive markets, a strong pricing dynamic and the settlement of industrial issues that had weighed on the Group's profitability in the first half. For 2019, in the context of a market which, despite some uncertainties, should be favorable overall, we are targeting a further like-for-like increase in operating income.

As part of the acceleration of our portfolio rotation program announced at the end of July and the reorganization presented in late November, the Group has launched a divestment program representing sales of more than €3.0 billion by the end of 2019. The divestment process for the Distribution business in Germany is well under way. The new strategic review currently in progress will lead to an additional dynamic of divestments and acquisitions."


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

"The new organization is being swiftly put into place and the teams are fully committed to unlocking additional growth and profitability. It is leading us to assess our positioning country by country and to focus the Group's strengths by optimizing the allocation of its resources in its core industrial and distribution businesses, with solid competitive positions, strong synergies and a profitable growth outlook. We therefore have full confidence in our program to achieve €250 million of additional savings by 2021."


2018 performance



The Group's 2018 sales totaled €41,774 million, up 2.4% on a reported basis and up 4.4% like-for-like. Organic growth was driven both by prices (up 3.0%), accelerating in the second half (up 3.5%), and by volumes (up 1.4%), progressing in all regions. All Business Sectors delivered significant price increases amid continued raw material and energy inflation.


The Group structure impact added 0.9% to overall growth and essentially corresponds to the consolidation of acquisitions in Asia and emerging countries (KIMMCO, Megaflex, Isoroc Poland), in new niche technologies and services (TekBond, Scotframe, Maris, HKO), and to consolidate our strong positions (Glava, Kirson, Wattex, bolt-on acquisitions in Building Distribution including Per Strand in Norway).

The smaller positive Group structure impact of 0.4% in the second half reflects the acceleration in the Group's portfolio optimization program, with in particular the disposal of the Pipe business in Xuzhou, China, the EPS insulating foam business in Germany, and glazing installation operations in the UK. It should be noted that in light of the now hyperinflationary environment in Argentina, this country which represents less than 1% of the Group's consolidated sales, is excluded from the like-for-like analysis as of July 1, 2018.


However, overall growth was tempered by a negative 2.9% currency effect over the year, albeit with a smaller negative 1.5% impact in the second half resulting mainly from the appreciation of the US dollar against the euro, despite the continued depreciation of the Brazilian real, Nordic krona and other Asian and emerging country currencies.


As expected, like-for-like operating income improved significantly in the second half, rising 7.2%, bringing growth over the full year to 4.5%. The Group's operating margin1 widened to 7.5% from 7.4% in 2017, with 7.9% in the second half (versus 7.7% in second-half 2017).



The acceleration of the Group's transformation continues, with the new organizational structure in place as of January 1, 2019. The Group has reviewed its asset impairment tests. In this context, given the current situation and the downward revisions to the outlook for certain businesses and countries, impairment amounts to €2.0 billion and mainly concerns Distribution in the UK, Pipe, Lapeyre and Distribution in Germany.


Saint-Gobain recorded a capital gain of €781 million on the Sika transaction in 2018 and became the company's largest shareholder, with 10.75% of the capital.


The Group continued to implement its strategic priorities in 2018:

€1.67 billion in capital expenditure, versus €1.54 billion in 2017, with an acceleration in growth capex in emerging countries;

around €300 million in cost savings versus 2017 as part of the €1.2 billion cost reduction program for 2017-2020, with a particular focus on Industry 4.0 and digitalization.



Performance of Group Business Sectors


Innovative Materials sales climbed 4.8% like-for-like over the year and 3.6% in the second half. The operating margin for the Business Sector remained stable over the year at 12.4% and stood at 12.5% in the second half.


·     Flat Glass like-for-like sales increased 2.8% over the year (up 2.1% in the second half). Automotive glass advanced in line with the division over the year, buoyed by growth in Latin America despite a significant downturn in European and Chinese markets in the fourth quarter. Recent industrial and innovation investments continue to ramp up. Sales linked to the construction market in Europe, Asia and emerging countries progressed, driven by prices. Following the restart of production at the three float glass facilities under repair in 2018 (Poland, Romania and Egypt), India started up its fifth float line in the second half of the year. The operating margin rallied sharply in the second half at 9.8% (after 8.0% in the first half), in a context of improved industrial performance and price increases. Over the year, the operating margin was 8.9% versus 10.1% in 2017.


·     High-Performance Materials (HPM) sales rose 7.2% on a like-for-like basis (up 5.2% in the second half), driven by all businesses and all regions, especially Asia and emerging countries. The strategy of allocating capital to niche technologies and fast-growing markets is paying off. Despite a higher comparison basis in the second half, HPM continued to deliver growth. The operating margin increased sharply to 16.3% from 15.1% in 2017 on the back of good volumes, particularly in Ceramics in the first half.


Construction Products (CP) reported 5.6% organic growth, with 4.2% in the second half. The operating margin progressed to 9.3% versus 9.1% in 2017.


·     Interior Solutions like-for-like sales moved up 5.5% over the year and 3.9% in the second half in the context of an acceleration in sales prices. All regions advanced, especially Asia and emerging countries. The strong pricing dynamic in North America intensified in the second half. The operating margin came in at 10.5% in 2018 (versus 9.5% in 2017), benefiting in particular from a positive price-cost spread in terms of raw materials and energy.




·     Exterior Solutions reported 5.7% organic growth over the year and 4.8% in the second half. Amid strong inflation in raw material and transport costs, Exterior Products in the US successfully implemented significant price increases in the second half, against a high comparison basis in terms of volumes (weather-related impacts in 2017). Pipe advanced over the year thanks to the increase in its second-half sales and efforts to improve its competitiveness. Mortars recorded an increase in sales led by Asia and emerging countries, with a pick-up in Brazil. The operating margin was 7.5% for the year versus 8.4% in 2017, affected by the spread between prices and raw material and energy costs for Exterior Products in the US, which improved significantly in the second half.


Building Distribution delivered 3.6% organic growth in 2018 and 4.0% in the second half which benefited from a positive calendar effect of around 0.5%. France had a good year in a growing market. Nordic countries enjoyed robust growth throughout the year, while Germany progressed slightly. The UK saw a decline in volumes and increased competitive pressure on margins, despite a sharp rise in prices. Brazil remained hesitant over the year and stabilized in the second half. Despite a rise in operating margin in France and Nordic countries, the Business Sector operating margin came out at 3.3% for the year (versus 3.4% in 2017) with a second half at 3.9%, affected by the contraction in the UK. The acceleration in digitalization investments took around 20 basis points off the margin between 2017 and 2018.



Analysis by region


·    The growth momentum in France continued, with like-for-like sales up 3.0% over the year (up 2.9% in the second half) in a market that remains constrained by the lack of skilled labor. The operating margin widened to 3.6% in 2018 from 3.1% in 2017.


·     Other Western European countries reported like-for-like sales growth of 3.5% over the year and 3.3% in the second half. Nordic countries continued to enjoy good momentum. Germany remained hesitant, affected by disruptions in the automotive market, significantly down in the second half of the year. The UK reported further organic growth led by pricing, with declining volumes in an uncertain environment. As a result, the operating margin narrowed to 5.5% in 2018 from 5.9% in 2017.


·    North America climbed 6.2% like-for-like, with 2.6% in the second half against a high comparison basis in Exterior Products and HPM. Construction and industrial markets continued to trend well. The operating margin improved, at 11.9% in 2018 versus 11.3% in 2017, aided notably by price increases.


·    Asia and emerging countries continued to advance, posting robust organic growth of 7.4% (6.7% in the second half), with a positive contribution from all regions and particularly Brazil, which saw an improvement on the prior year. The operating margin continued to rise, up to 11.7% in 2018 from 11.5% in 2017.




Analysis of the 2018 consolidated financial statements


The 2018 consolidated financial statements were approved and adopted by Saint-Gobain's Board of Directors at its meeting of February 21, 2019. The consolidated financial statements were audited and certified by the statutory auditors.

















Sales and ancillary revenue










Operating income





Operating depreciation and amortization





EBITDA (operating income + operating depr./amort.)










Non-operating costs





Capital gains and losses on disposals, asset write-downs, corporate acquisition fees and earn-out payments





Business income





Net financial income (expense)





Income tax





Share in net income of associates





Net income before minority interests





Minority interests





Net attributable income





Earnings per share2 (in €)










Recurring1 net income





Recurring1 earnings per share2 (in €)










Cash flow from operations3





Cash flow from operations excluding capital gains tax4





Capital expenditure5










Free cash flow6










Investments in securities





Net debt











1.   Recurring net income: net attributable income excluding capital gains and losses on disposals, asset write-downs, material non-recurring provisions and Sika income.

2.   Calculated based on the number of shares outstanding at December 31 (543,879,267 shares in 2018, versus 550,785,719 shares in 2017).

3.   Cash flow from operations = operating cash flow excluding material non-recurring provisions.

4.   Cash flow from operations excluding capital gains tax = (3) less the tax impact of capital gains and losses on disposals, asset write-downs and material non-recurring provisions.

5.   Capital expenditure: investments in property, plant and equipment.

6.   Free cash flow = (4) less capital expenditure (5).



Consolidated sales increased by 4.4% like-for-like, with a positive 3.0% price impact. On a reported basis, sales were up 2.4% with a negative 2.9% currency impact, albeit with a smaller negative impact of 1.5% in the second half due mainly to the appreciation of the US dollar against the euro, despite the continued depreciation of the Brazilian real, Nordic krona and other Asian and emerging country currencies. The positive 0.9% Group structure impact essentially reflects the consolidation of acquisitions made in Asia and emerging countries, in new niche technologies and services, and to consolidate our strong positions. The smaller positive Group structure impact of 0.4% in the second half is attributable to the acceleration in the portfolio optimization program.


Operating income rose 3.1% on a reported basis despite a negative currency effect, and by 4.5% like-for-like. The operating margin stood at 7.5% of sales versus 7.4% of sales in 2017. EBITDA climbed 2.1% to €4,324 million, stable at 10.4% of sales.


Non-operating costs totaled €284 million versus €337 million in 2017, reflecting on the one hand a one-off gain of €180 million relating to the Sika transaction and on the other, a rise in restructuring costs relating to Pipe. Non-operating costs also include a €90 million accrual to the provision for asbestos-related litigation involving CertainTeed in the US, unchanged from 2017. The launch of the "Transform & Grow" program resulted in additional expenses of around €60 million.

The net balance of capital gains and losses, asset write-downs and corporate acquisition fees represented an expense of €2,040 million versus an expense of €180 million in 2017. The Group reviewed its asset impairment tests in light of the current situation and the downward revision to the outlook for certain businesses and countries. The UK faces uncertainty due to Brexit in a more competitive environment. Restructuring measures continue at Pipe and Lapeyre. The value of the Distribution business in Germany has been adjusted in the context of its divestment. In 2018, asset write-downs represented €2,037 million, of which €750 million relates to the Distribution business in the UK, €511 million to Pipe (including €223 million in first-half 2018, in particular in China), €372 million to Lapeyre and €212 million to the Distribution business in Germany. As a result, business income was down 68.2%.


The Group reported net financial income of €189 million in 2018 versus a net financial expense of €448 million in 2017. The interest cost on pensions fell (thanks to prior-year contributions), as well as the average cost of gross debt, down to 2.3% from 2.8% at December 31, 2017; net financial income also includes a €601 million gain resulting from the Sika transaction.

The income tax rate on recurring net income was 24% compared to 25% in 2017, due mainly to the reduction in the US tax rate. Income tax totaled €490 million versus €438 million in 2017.

Recurring net income (excluding capital gains and losses, asset write-downs, material non-recurring provisions and Sika income) rose 6.0% to €1,729 million.

Net attributable income came in at €420 million in 2018 versus €1,566 million in 2017, owing to asset write-downs.


Cash flow from operations remained stable at €3,023 million; before the tax impact of capital gains and losses on disposals, asset write-downs and material non-recurring provisions, cash flow from operations was 1.6% higher at €2,936 million.

Capital expenditure was increased to €1,666 million in 2018 versus €1,538 million in 2017, with a focus on growth capex in emerging countries and on digitalization. Consequently, free cash flow fell 6.1% to €1,270 million in 2018, or 3.0% of sales (3.3% of sales in 2017).

Operating working capital requirements (WCR) came in at €3,227 million (€3,140 million at December 31, 2017), or 29 days of sales, in line with our objective of less than 30 days.


Investments in securities totaled €1,699 million in 2018 (€641 million in 2017), including approximately €930 million relating to the Sika transaction (on a net basis after the disposal of 6.97% of shares) and €768 million in targeted acquisitions made to consolidate leading positions, notably Per Strand in Norway (Building Distribution) and Hankuk Glass in South Korea; to develop innovative niches with Kaimann (technical insulation) and HyComp (composite solutions for aerospace markets); and to establish a foothold in new countries with KIMMCO in Insulation in Kuwait.



Net debt increased to €8.2 billion from €6.0 billion at December 31, 2017, with in particular €1.7 billion of acquisitions (including Sika for approximately €930 million) and €532 million in share buybacks. Net debt represents 45% of consolidated equity compared to 32% at end-2017.

The net debt to EBITDA ratio was 1.9 compared to 1.4 at December 31, 2017.


Update on asbestos claims in the US                                                                         


Some 2,600 claims were filed against CertainTeed in 2018, a noticeable decrease on 2017. At the same time, around 4,300 claims were settled (versus 3,900 in 2017), bringing the total number of outstanding claims to around 32,600 at December 31, 2018, a decrease of around 1,700 compared to end-2017.

A total of USD 67 million in indemnity payments were made in the 12 months to December 31, 2018, compared to USD 76 million in 2017. In light of these trends and of the €90 million provision accrual in 2018, the total provision for CertainTeed's asbestos-related claims amounted to USD 568 million at December 31, 2018, compared to USD 555 million at December 31, 2017.


IFRS 16                                                                                                        


The Group has chosen to apply IFRS 16 using the full retrospective method at January 1, 2019, with retroactive effect from January 1, 2018. IFRS 16 aligns the accounting treatment of operating leases with that of finance leases (subject to the exemptions set out in the standard). The impact of IFRS 16 on the Group's consolidated financial statements arises chiefly from leases of property assets.


Applying this standard will result in a change in presentation in the consolidated financial statements for the six months ended June 30, 2019, with restatement of first-half 2018: 

In the balance sheet: a liability will be recognized in respect of future lease payments and an asset will be recognized in respect of the right-of-use granted. The difference between these two amounts will be recognized in equity.

In the income statement: the rental expense currently recognized within operating income will partly be recorded in depreciation and amortization expense, and partly in net financial expense.


Based on the lease contracts analyzed, the Group estimates that the impact at the transition date should be around €3 billion to €3.3 billion on debt and around €2.8 billion to €3 billion on right-of-use assets.


The estimated full-year impact is an increase of around €0.7 billion to €0.8 billion in EBITDA and slightly positive on operating income.


Shareholder policy


In 2018, the Group bought back 12.8 million shares, an acceleration on 2017 (8.3 million shares), contributing to the reduction in the number of shares outstanding to 543.9 million at December 31, 2018 (550.8 million at December 31, 2017).


At today's meeting, Compagnie de Saint-Gobain's Board of Directors decided to recommend to the June 6, 2019 Shareholders' Meeting to pay in cash an increased dividend of €1.33 per share. This dividend represents 42% of recurring net income and a dividend yield of 4.6% based on the closing share price at December 31, 2018 (€29.165). The ex-dividend date has been set at June 10 and the dividend will be paid on June 12, 2019.



Strategy: implementation of the "Transform & Grow" program


New organization put into place

The new organization is being swiftly put into place. It intends to align the Group more closely with its end markets, taking into account the regional dimension of the majority of our markets and the global nature of our most innovative businesses. The new structure consists of five reporting units, with four regional businesses and a global High Performance Solutions unit.


These five reporting units replaced the three Business Sectors and 14 delegations as from January 1, allowing for a more agile Group leveraging new opportunities from our digital transformation, and for simplified decision-making processes which will enhance competitiveness. Tailoring this business model to regional and market specificities will allow us to accelerate profitable growth, and streamlined management structures will result in a leaner organization, with increased synergies at country and market level, to the benefit of customers.


Acceleration of the rotation of the portfolio

€768 million in acquisitions in 2018: 27 fully consolidated acquisitions of small and mid-sized businesses;

divestments completed or signed to date represent sales of over €500 million: Pipe in China (Xuzhou plant), EPS insulating foam in Germany, glazing installation operations in the UK, Silicon Carbide, Glassolutions in Norway and Sweden;

the process to divest the Distribution business in Germany representing €1.9 billion in sales is well under way;

a strategic review of the business portfolio is in progress in the context of the new organization, which will lead to an additional dynamic of divestments and acquisitions.


Positive impact on the operating margin

As a result of the new organizational structure and the acceleration of the rotation of its portfolio, the Group expects a positive impact on the operating margin of more than 100 basis points:

positive operating margin impact of around 40 basis points relating to the divestment of businesses representing sales of more than €3 billion by the end of 2019;

positive operating margin impact of around 60 basis points relating to the new organization, thanks to cost savings of €250 million by 2021 (including more than €50 million in 2019), in addition to our existing €1.2 billion cost savings program for 2017-2020 (annual savings of €300 million on average).




The Group expects the following trends for its new reporting units in 2019:

High Performance Solutions: industrial markets should remain supportive, particularly in the US, despite uncertainties on the automotive market in Europe and China;

Northern Europe: should progress despite uncertainties in the UK with the increased risk of a no-deal Brexit;

Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa: overall growth expected for the Region, with a construction market in France which should be supported by renovation while new construction could be down from the second half;

Americas: market growth in both North and Latin America;

Asia: further growth.


Saint-Gobain will continue its disciplined approach with regard to its free cash flow and its financial strength. In particular, it will maintain:

its focus on sales prices amid continued inflationary pressure on costs;

its cost savings program, with the aim of unlocking additional savings of around €300 million (calculated on the 2018 cost base), as well as more than €50 million in 2019 as part of the "Transform and Grow" program;

its capital expenditure program close to the 2018 level, with a focus on growth capex outside Western Europe and also on productivity and continued digital transformation;

its commitment to invest in R&D to support its differentiated, high value-added strategy;

its focus on high levels of free cash flow generation.


The Group is targeting a further like-for-like increase in operating income in 2019.



Financial calendar


- An information meeting for analysts and investors will be held at 8:30am (GMT+1) on February 22, 2019 and will be broadcast live on: 


          - Sales for the first quarter of 2019: April 25, 2019, after close of trading on the Paris Bourse.

          - First-half 2019 results: July 25, 2019, after close of trading on the Paris Bourse.




Analyst/Investor relations


Press relations

Vivien Dardel

Floriana Michalowska

Christelle Gannage


+33 1 47 62 44 29

+33 1 47 62 35 98 +33 1 47 62 30 93



Laurence Pernot Susanne Trabitzsch


+33 1 47 62 30 10

+33 1 47 62 43 25




Indicators of organic growth and like-for-like changes in sales/operating income reflect the Group's underlying performance excluding the impact of:

·          changes in Group structure, by calculating indicators for the year under review based on the scope of consolidation of the previous year (Group structure impact);

·          changes in foreign exchange rates, by calculating the indicators for the year under review and those for the previous year based on identical foreign exchange rates for the previous year (currency impact);

·          changes in applicable accounting policies.


All indicators contained in this press release (not defined in the footnotes) are explained in the notes to the 2018 consolidated financial statements, available by clicking here: 



The glossary below shows the note of the financial statements in which you can find an explanation of each indicator.


Cash flow from operations                                                                       Note 4

Net debt                                                                                                   Note 9 

EBITDA                                                                                                    Note 4 

Non-operating costs                                                                               Note 4  

Operating income                                                                                    Note 4  

Net financial income (expense)                                                              Note 9 

Recurring net income                                                                              Note 4 

Business income                                                                                     Note 4

Working capital                                                                                       Note 4 




Important disclaimer - forward-looking statements:

This press release contains forward-looking statements with respect to Saint-Gobain's financial condition, results, business, strategy, plans and outlook. Forward-looking statements are generally identified by the use of the words "expect", "anticipate", "believe", "intend", "estimate", "plan" and similar expressions. Although Saint-Gobain believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions as at the time of publishing this document, investors are cautioned that these statements are not guarantees of its future performance. Actual results may differ materially from the forward-looking statements as a result of a number of known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are difficult to predict and are generally beyond the control of Saint-Gobain, including but not limited to the risks described in Saint-Gobain's registration document available on its website ( Accordingly, readers of this document are cautioned against relying on these forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this document. Saint-Gobain disclaims any intention or obligation to complete, update or revise these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

This press release does not constitute any offer to purchase or exchange, nor any solicitation of an offer to sell or exchange securities of Saint-Gobain.


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