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RPT-Saint-Gobain says Brexit may have silver construction lining
July 29, 2016 / 5:00 AM / a year ago

RPT-Saint-Gobain says Brexit may have silver construction lining

PARIS, July 29 (Reuters) - Britain’s decision to quit the European Union has caused uncertainty but is unlikely to have a significant impact on business and may be a boost for the construction industry, French building supplies group Saint-Gobain said.

Amid signs that the Brexit vote is hurting the economy, government officials have signaled they will ease back on austerity and said that it is important to see through ongoing big infrastructure projects.

The France-based company counts on Britain for about 11 percent of its revenue, mainly from the production and distribution of plasterboard through its subsidiary British Plaster Board (BPB) which it bought in 2005.

“It’s possible we’ll see some contraction in the economy ... but it’s also possible that the British government launches a stimulus project in the autumn and that there is no slowdown in activity,” Chief Executive Officer Pierre-Andre de Chalendar told reporters on a conference call.

BPB’s exports could also benefit from a weaker British pound after the Brexit vote, helping mitigate any eventual downtown in the local market.

Reporting a 7.3 percent increase in first half operating income, Saint-Gobain maintained its objectives for full-year 2016. (Reporting by Andrew Callus; editing by Richard Lough and Alexandra Hudson)

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