Saint-Gobain rolls out cost savings plan after H1 slumps

PARIS, July 26 Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:06pm EDT

PARIS, July 26 (Reuters) - Building materials group Saint-Gobain on Thursday rolled out a fresh cost-cutting plan as it reported declining first-half earnings, hit by a market slowdown in Western Europe, and warned that operating profit in the second half would be slightly lower than in the first.

Net profit in the first six months of 2012 slumped 34 percent to 506 million euros ($613.45 million), while operating profit declined 12 percent to 1.51 billion, slightly below a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S consensus of 1.535 billion euros.

Sales in the period rose 3.4 percent to 21.66 billion.

"Overall, in view of the deterioration in the economic climate since the beginning of 2012, we are now expecting for the year as a whole a measured rise in our sales prices, a limited decline in our volumes, and second-half operating income to be moderately down on our first-half performance," Chief Executive Pierre-Andre de Chalendar said in a statement. ($1 = 0.8248 euros) (Reporting by Elena Berton; Editing by Christian Plumb)

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