July 26, 2018 / 4:17 PM / a year ago

French group St Gobain to step up sales and acquisitions as H1 profits rise

PARIS (Reuters) - French construction materials group St Gobain (SGOB.PA) said it would accelerate its general strategy regarding sales of non-core assets and acquisitions, as it posted higher interim profits.

St Gobain said operating profits had edged up 0.3 percent from a year ago to 1.47 billion euros (1.29 billion pounds), while recurring net profits advanced 6.8 percent to 802 million euros.

Sales rose 1.9 percent to 20.79 billion euros, and St Gobain kept its 2018 full-year targets, namely for a like-for-like increase in operating profits and said the second-half of the year should mark a stronger performance to the first half.

In May, St Gobain dropped a plan to wrest control of Swiss rival Sika (SIKA.S) via a minority stake that carried extra voting rights. The French company instead took up a 10.75 percent holding in Sika.

“After having agreed a transaction with Sika on excellent financial terms, the group will accelerate the implementation of its strategy,” said St Gobain chairman and chief executive Pierre-Andre de Chalendar in a statement.

He said this would include the roll-out of a divestment programme representing at least 3 billion euros in sales by the end of 2019, the continuation of its policy of value-creating acquisitions, and a review of the company’s organisational structure to improve its overall performance.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Leigh Thomas

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