UPDATE 1-Saint-Gobain sees pick-up for profits despite currencies cramping sales
* Group still sees a recovery in operating income in H2
* Q3-reported sales down 1.4 pct at 10.8 bln euros
* Adverse forex moves cuts 4.3 pct off Q3 sales growth
* Group sees improving trends in construction and automotive (Adds further details, background)
PARIS, Oct 24 (Reuters) - France's Saint-Gobain stuck to its full-year targets on Thursday, saying robust growth in emerging markets, an upturn in the U.S. construction market and stabilisation in Europe would help it offset the impact of volatile currencies.
Europe's biggest supplier of building materials reported a 1.4 percent drop in third-quarter sales to 10.8 billion euros ($14.91 billion), in line with analysts' expectations and up 3.1 percent on a like-for-like basis.
Weakness in emerging market currencies, especially in the Brazilian real, but also in the British pound, reduced the value of overseas sales and slashed 4.3 percentage points off revenue growth in the quarter, Saint-Gobain said.
"In a still unsettled macro-economic environment and despite a significant currency impact, we are confirming our objective of a recovery in operating income in the second half of the year," Chief Executive Pierre-Andre de Chalendar said in a statement.
The company, which makes materials used in roofing and insulation as well as glass panes for windows and windshields, said its key construction and automotive markets were stabilising in Europe and picking up in Asia and North America.
Saint-Gobain was hit last year by the economic slowdown in Europe, which put a damper on the construction and renovation market. It also faced a decline in flat glass sales as auto production in Europe and the solar panel market shrank.
Like-for-like sales of flat glass, a key activity for the company, which was founded in 1665 to make mirrors for the royal court of Versailles, rose 3.1 percent during the third quarter. Sales of construction products rose 5.4 percent.
The company reiterated its commitment to its cost-cutting programme - it aims for 580 million euros in savings this year - and said it would keep on raising prices to customers to offset higher costs for raw materials and energy.
Shares in Saint-Gobain, which have gained around 17 percent since the beginning of the year, closed up 0.36 percent at 37.84 euros before the release of the results, giving the company a market value of close to 21 billion euros. ($1=0.7245 euros) (Reporting by Leila Abboud and Natalie Huet; Editing by James Regan and Greg Mahlich)
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