The group's profitability fell on the back of a £542.3 million provision for fines issued by the European Commission after an investigation into flat glass price-fixing.
Earnings before interest and tax climbed 10.6 per cent to £3.2 billion from sales of £33.9 billion, up 4.4 per cent.
The troubled American market proved a headache for the group, with sales falling 14.7 per cent and operating profit slumping more than half to £269 million.
But Saint Gobain's operations in Asia and other emerging markets – where sales and operating income climbed 16.7 per cent and 48.8 per cent respectively – off-set the negative US growth.
The company's western European heartland proved resilient, with sales climbing 7.9 per cent outside France and a modest 3.2 per cent within the country.
The European Commission fined Saint Gobain and three other glassmakers – Britain's Pilkington, US group Guardian Industries and Japan's Asahi – a combined €489.9 million (£383 million) last November relating to a cartel that the commission said ran for about a year from early 2004.