PARIS (Reuters) -Shares in French construction materials giant St-Gobain rose on Wednesday, after the Financial Times reported that activist investment firm Bluebell Capital had called for a shake-up at the company.
St-Gobain shares were up around 2% by mid-session trading, although the stock is down by around 14% since the start of 2022. By comparison, France’s benchmark CAC-40 index is down by around 14% while the STOXX Europe 600 Construction & Materials Index is down by around 18%.
In April, St-Gobain posted record first-quarter sales but flagged the higher impact of energy and raw material costs in 2022 amid a challenging geopolitical situation and supply chain issues.
Bluebell Capital has urged St Gobain to spin off, list on the stock market, or sell its distribution operations and focus more on its core building-materials business. In 2021, Bluebell had also pushed for corporate governance changes at French food company Danone.
St Gobain said, in response to Bluebell Capital’s comments, that the company valued the “input and perspectives we receive from investors and the constructive dialogue with them.”
“Thanks to its country-by-country organization, Saint-Gobain is well positioned today in the promising markets of energy-efficient renovation, light construction and decarbonization of the construction and industry sectors across the full value chain,” added St Gobain in a statement.
“We continue to execute our strategy for profitable growth and long-term value creation for shareholders as outlined during our last capital market day, which capitalizes on a profound transformation of the group. This was successfully undertaken over the past three years and is underlined by a record-breaking FY 2021 performance in terms of organic growth, margin expansion and return on capital employed,” the company also said.
(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Dagmarah Mackos;Editing by Benoit Van Overstraeten;)