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France's Saint-Gobain posts record revenue, beats estimates

By Dina Kartit

(REUTERS) - French construction materials giant Compagnie de Saint-Gobain on Thursday posted record annual revenue that exceeded analysts' expectations on strong growth in all its regions and despite higher inflation and concerns over economic growth.

Revenue was 51.2 billion euros ($54.15 billion), up 15.9% from 2021. A Refinitiv consensus drawn from 21 analysts had forecast 50.76 billion.

"This is the first time we've broken the 50 billion mark," said CEO Benoit Bazin in a call with journalists.

Operating income rose 18.4% to a new record high of 5.34 billion euros, the group said, while operating margin also hit a new record at 10.4% in 2022 from 10.2% in 2021.

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The group attributed the solid performance to strong momentum in all segments worldwide, despite an "unsettled geopolitical, energy and macroeconomic environment in 2022."

For 2023, the group said it expects operating margin to remain in the 9%-11% range.

It forecast a moderate slowdown with a decline in new construction in certain regions, but expected broader resilience in renovation in 2023.

Saint-Gobain said the selling of its British distribution business to Stark group for about 740 million pounds ($887.78 million) would be finalised by the end of March 2023.

The French group proposed a dividend of 2.0 euros per share, up 23% from a year ago, adding it will allocate at least 400 million euros for share buybacks in 2023 to further reduce the number of its outstanding shares.

(Reporting by Dina Kartit)