UPDATE 1-Saint Gobain eyes 2014 upturn after profit drop

miércoles 19 de febrero de 2014 14:48 GYT

* Eyes "clear improvement" in like-for-like profit

* Sees $1.7 bln Verallia deal closing by April 30

* Aims for 450 mln euros in cost savings

* 2013 net income falls 14.1 pct to 595 mln euros

* Sales fall 2.7 pct to 42.02 bln euros (Adds detail, CEO quote, background)

PARIS, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Saint-Gobain said cost savings, innovation and a recovery in the United States would help operating profit to rebound this year after adverse currency effects and a weak economy in Europe hit 2013 sales and profits.

Europe's biggest supplier of construction materials said on Wednesday it expected an uptick in construction markets this year, driven by improved conditions in the UK, Germany and the United States.

The company had said in November it was aiming for 800 million euros in cost savings in 2014-2015 and to spend 4 billion euros on acquisitions through 2018 to focus on high-growth, high-margin products.

Full-year net income fell 14.1 percent to 595 million euros ($818.33 million). Sales were stable on a like-for-like basis but fell 2.7 percent to 42.02 billion euros after taking into account adverse exchange rates effects, mainly from a strong euro and weaker emerging market currencies, particularly in Latin America.   Continuación...