Changes in the scope of consolidation over the first nine months of the year accounted for an increase of 0.7% in sales, with contributions from bolt-on acquisitions (mainly in the Construction Products and Building Distribution sectors) slightly ahead of contributions from divestments (mainly Desjonqueres and Calmar in the Packaging sector and Synflex in the High-Performance Materials business). Fluctuations in exchange rates had a negative 1.2% impact, chiefly reflecting the fall in the value of the US dollar.
On a like-for-like basis (constant Group structure and exchange rates*), the Group's sales advanced EUR1,825 million, or 6.0%, buoyed by a significant rise in sales prices (3.6%) and, to a lesser extent, volumes (2.4%). The vigorous growth in the first half of the year (organic growth of 6.9% at end-June), buoyed by the very favorable weather conditions during the first quarter, continued into the third quarter (up 4.2%), albeit at a slightly slower pace due to a higher comparison basis (for information, the Group's organic growth for third-quarter 2006 was 6.2% versus 4.0% in the three months to June 30, 2006) as well as more moderate growth in certain European countries in the third quarter.
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