At constant exchange rates (based on average rates for the first nine months of 2003), sales were up 10.0% on an actual structure basis* and 5.1% on a comparable structure basis. Volumes expanded by 4.0%, while prices increased by 1.1%.
In the third quarter alone, like-for-like sales rose 4.0% (including a 2.6% volume effect and a 1.4% price impact) compared with the third quarter of 2003, which proved to be a high basis for comparison.
In line with the economic scenario anticipated at the end of July, and the trends observed in the first half of the year, the new businesses (High-Performance Materials and Building Distribution), as well as emerging markets in general, continued to drive the Group's overall growth in the third quarter and during the first nine months of 2004.
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