French materials giant to make swingeing job cuts in its UK, US and Spanish divisions

Construction materials giant Saint-Gobain has announced it is to make 6,000 of its global workforce redundant.

The French firm, which is heavily exposed to the failing US market, said the redundancies will come from its UK, US and Spanish divisions. It plans to cut 4,000 from its 200,000 staff before the end of the year.

By making the job cuts, Saint-Gobain hopes to cut costs by €435m (£343m) overall.

Although the firm's sales rose marginally, up 1.7% to €22bn (£17bn), it lowered its 2008 profit targets, saying they would be roughly equal to last year's figure of €2.1bn (£1.7bn).

Pierre Andre de Chalendar, the company's chief executive, said: "The economic environment has clearly worsened... We have a serious crisis in 2008 and 2009.”