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Saint-Gobain, big winner of the energy transition

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The crisis, don’t know. Founded in 1665, Saint-Gobain completed in 2021 “the best results in its history”, according to its general manager, Benoit Bazin. Turnover rose by 15.8%, to 44.16 billion euros, and its net current result reached 2.8 billion euros, up 50% compared to 2019, just before the pandemic. For the first time, the building materials specialist achieved a double-digit operating margin.

The leader in insulation

Saint-Gobain’s activity is greatly boosted by the energy transition. In particular, it pushes for better insulation of housing (half of the group’s activity), but also to develop housing that consumes less CO2. Two sectors where the French champion is a world leader. Last year, it opened 21 factories or new production lines around the world, including a quarter in Asia.

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Orders will keep coming in: “There are 35 million buildings to renovate in Europe, and states are tightening regulationseverywhere “, explains Benoit Bazin. This is the case in France with the RE2020 or the upcoming ban on renting accommodation considered as a thermal sieve.

→ READ. Saint-Gobain moves up a gear

Even soaring energy prices do not overly worry the boss of Saint-Gobain, who sees it as a business opportunity. It speeds up “the awareness of governments” to no longer be dependent on Russian gas and a barrel of oil at 100 dollars “.

Priority to profitability

Through products “essential”, the company can also afford to pass on price increases in its tariffs. An advantage in the current context. Focused on “sustainable building», Saint-Gobain also focuses on profitability. It carried out 20 disposals last year (like Lapeyre in France) and 37 acquisitions, becoming for example one of the world leaders in building chemistry, a sector in very strong growth which allows in particular to reduce the carbon footprint of concrete. and cement. He thus bought the French Chryso and the American GCP. “We have reached a milestone in our growth profile », says the general manager of Saint-Gobain.

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The old mirror factory, created under Louis XIV, is also exemplary. Since 2017, it has reduced its CO2 emissions by 23% and increased its investments in this area. In Norway, its Fredrikstad plant is set to become the world’s first carbon-neutral plasterboard production site.

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