Vitro posted 4.2 percent YoY growth in consolidated sales, with all three business units contributing to the increase. Consolidated EBITDA rose YoY by 1.2 percent, driven by improved performance at the Glass Containers and Glassware business units, which more than compensated for the decline in Flat Glass. Consolidated EBIT for the quarter, however, declined by 10.5 percent, with decreases at both the Flat Glass and Glass Containers business units. Consolidated EBITDA and EBIT margins declined YoY by 45 basis points and 86 basis points, respectively. EBITDA for the LTM improved to US$365 million as of March 31, 2004, from US$364 million as of December 31, 2003.
Alvaro Rodriguez, Chief Financial Officer, commented: "The results were in line with the expectations and our guidance. A positive signal is that sales increased for the first time in eight quarters, driven by strong volume growth across the board. We believe these are additional signals that we are in a positive trend."
"These results once again demonstrate the value of Vitro's asset portfolio. While last year, Flat Glass was the stronger performer, this time Glass Containers and Glassware are driving performance. We believe that this business and asset structure provides a valuable base for stability in sales and cash generation. This is one of Vitro's greatest strengths."
Further commenting on Vitro's strong business portfolio, Mr. Rodriguez said: "Although we may see variations quarter to quarter, longer term, Glass Containers is expected to provide downside protection while Flat Glass adds growth potential."
Mr. Rodriguez added: "We continue to deliver on our stated strategy to focus on our three glass business units with the sale of Vitro's interest in Vitro Fibras, our former fiberglass operation. The proceeds of this sale will be used during the year to pay down debt."
"In addition, on April 2, 2004 through a syndicated loan facility taken at the Glassware business unit, Vitro refinanced close to 40% of its non-revolving bank debt due in 2004. This transaction is evidence of the financial initiatives we're committed to, and will continue to pursue as part of our ongoing efforts to improve Vitro's capital structure," Mr. Rodriguez concluded.