Saint-Gobain reports that its flat glass division sales are up 4.5 percent “like-for-like” (constant exchange rates and group structure) for the first quarter, “driven by brisk automotive markets in all regions,” according to company officials.

The Flat Glass division reported first quarter sales of $1.602 billion USD (€1.159 billion in Euros), compared to $1.608 USD (€1.163 billion in Euros) in the previous year. Results were down 0.3 percent on “an actual structure basis” and “comparable structure basis.”

“The construction market in Western Europe improved slightly in volume terms, although sales prices do not yet reflect the increases currently being implemented. Asia and emerging countries continued to enjoy very strong momentum,” according to company management.

Consolidated sales for Saint-Gobain was $13.653 USD (€9.87 billion in Euros) for the period, up 2.6 percent or 6.8 percent on a like-for-like basis.

Looking ahead, management predicts that in in North America, “after a first-quarter performance affected by harsh winter weather, the group will benefit from good momentum in the construction market and improved industrial markets.”

In Western Europe, the markets should continue to improve, led by growth in the United Kingdom and Germany, they add.

In Asia and emerging countries, the company expects solid organic growth.

Officials also note that the household consumption market is more challenging in Southern Europe and it could continue to be affected by competitive pressure on prices.

“Good first-quarter trading reflects favorable trends in our markets as well as the positive weather impact in Europe,” says Pierre Andrew de Chalendar, chairman and CEO of Saint-Gobain. “In view of this and thanks to the rollout of our action plan priorities, we can confirm our objective of a clear like-for-like improvement in operating income.”