Saint-Gobain established its presence in India by acquiring a majority stake in Grindwell Norton in 1996, and thereafter went on to consolidate and strengthen its presence within the country. The Group has adopted a systematic focus in launching its individual businesses in India and currently operates in two business sectors: Innovative Materials and Construction Products.

Within these sectors, a variety of products are manufactured by eight different companies:

Saint-Gobain (or Compagnie de Saint-Gobain, the holding company) is a large transnational Group (sales of €43 billion in 2012) with a 340-plus-year history.Though old in years, the Group is dynamic and continuously evolving. Today, its business divisions operate in five important sectors of activity:

• Innovative Materials - Flat Glass
• Innovative Materials - High Performance Materials
• Construction Products
• Packaging
• Building Distribution

With a presence in 64 countries, Saint-Gobain is a global leader in all its businesses. In India, Saint-Gobain is a relative newcomer, having set up a Delegation (or Country Head’s) Office only in 1996. Since then the Group has made significant investments in India, has achieved strong and consistent growth (the Group’s sales in India have grown from Rs.161 crores in 1996 to Rs. 3988 crores in 2013: CAGR of 20.7%) and has emerged as a leader in all its major businesses. Today, two of Saint-Gobain’s sectors operate businesses in India through eight majority or wholly owned companies. In addition, in December 2012, Saint-Gobain Research India was incorporated to develop a global R&D centre in India.

India is already a large market and has the potential to be a much bigger one. Growth in emerging countries is a key strategy for the Group. Saint-Gobain is, therefore, committed to investing in India and to establishing a leadership position in all its businesses here. But, let me clarify that we are not interested in growth for growth’s sake. Our goal is SUSTAINABLE & PROFITABLE GROWTH. And, it is noteworthy that, from the beginning, our operations in India have been profitable.

In India, we are Indian. We rely on local expertise and talent to develop and to grow our businesses. We recognise that our performance and growth thus far has been largely due to our most valuable resource – ‘People’. We believe that our people, their talents and skills, their spirit and enthusiasm are our greatest strength.

The Saint-Gobain India ‘culture’ is based on the Saint-Gobain Principles of Conduct and Action, a culture characterised by respect for people, respect for the environment and the law, professionalism, integrity, team work and a focus on health and safety at the workplace and on performance excellence.

In India, Saint-Gobain is on the threshold of bigger things. With significant investments on the ground, access to the best technology in the world, an impressive product portfolio and an extraordinary group of people, we will undoubtedly exceed our ambitious goals. In the process, we hope that, in a small way, we will contribute to the development of India.

Anand Y Mahajan

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