Mexico's Vitro eyes asset sales: "no sacred cows"

Mexican glass maker Vitro said on Tuesday it was mulling selling assets as part of an effort to slash the debt burden at its holding company level and focus on its core activities.

"We are committed to significantly reducing the debt at the holding company, and we are prepared to do whatever it takes to reach this goal ... That includes the sale of assets. There are no sacred cows," CFO Alvaro Rodriguez told a conference call.

Vitro had total financial debt of $1.463 billion at the end of June. Most was held across its three glassmaking divisions and some $646 million at the holding company.

Rodriguez said the firm was "engaged in advance discussions about the sale of nonstrategic businesses." He declined to say which assets were up for sale, but added that Vitro "hoped to make an announcement soon."

The Monterrey-based company has in recent months sold off three noncore units in a bid to focus activities around its key flat glass, container and glassware-making businesses.

The move began with the sale of Vitro Fibras in March of last year. It then sold can making division Vitro American National Can (Vancan) and plastics unit Plasticos Bosco (Bosco) in September 2004 and April 2005 respectively.

Vitro announced in March that it aimed to trim $120 million from its debt burden this year, while making capital investments totaling $150 million across its core glass making businesses.

The company posted a second-quarter net profit of $37 million on Monday, against a net loss a year earlier of $41 million, due largely to a foreign exchange gain.

600450 Mexico's Vitro eyes asset sales: "no sacred cows"
Date: 27 July 2005

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