Changes in the scope of consolidation over the first nine months of the year accounted for a 3.1% increase in sales, offset by a broadly equivalent negative exchange rate impact (3.0%) stemming from the decline in value of the US dollar and pound sterling.
On a like-for-like basis (constant Group structure and exchange rates*), the Group’s sales advanced €755 million over the nine-month period, or 2.4%, buoyed by a significant 3.3% rise in sales prices. Sales volumes fell back slightly by 0.9%. In the third quarter alone, the Group reported organic growth of 2.8% (including a positive 3.8% price impact and a negative 1.0% volume effect).
All of the Group’s business sectors saw a rise in like-for-like sales over the first nine months of 2008. Third-quarter figures for the residential construction market in the US benefited from a favorable basis for comparison and a momentary rebound in renovation businesses related to siding and roofing products. In western Europe, business tailed off in the third quarter with a deceleration in volumes in most countries and a recession taking hold and intensifying in Spain and the UK. Overall, demand related to industrial output and capital spending held firm at satisfactory levels in both Europe and the US.
Broadly speaking, demand across all of the Group’s businesses remained satisfactory in France (organic growth of 3.2%, boosted by sales price increases) and vigorous in emerging countries and Asia (up 11.4%).
(*) Based on average exchange rates for the first nine months of 2007.
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