Consolidated sales remained unchanged YoY. Excluding Vitro Fibras (VIFISA) and Vitro American National Can (VANCAN), divested in March and September 2004, respectively, consolidated sales rose 3.8 percent. Consolidated EBITDA fell YoY 12 percent with margins down 1.8 percentage points to 13.1 percent. On a comparable basis, consolidated EBITDA declined 4.7 percent. Comparable EBITDA rose 8.0 percent at Glass Containers and fell 28.3 percent at Flat Glass and 23.8 percent at Glassware.
Alvaro Rodriguez, Chief Financial Officer, noted: "Results are in line with expectations for the first quarter which is always the weakest of the year. For the third consecutive quarter, on a comparable basis, all business units reported YoY sales growth. Glass Containers turned in an excellent performance, with sales up 6.4 percent. Glassware sales were up 6.7 percent and Flat Glass rose 0.9 percent."
Mr. Rodriguez commented, "During the quarter, we closed a five-year US$150 million senior secured term loan at Vitro Envases Norteamerica, our Glass Containers business unit. The net proceeds from this loan, together with the US$80 million from the reopening of the VENA bond on February 4, 2005 were used to pay down other debt. With these transactions we completed the refinancing of this business unit. This means that we do not have any large maturities for the next five years at VENA. In addition, VENA's cost of debt fell by more than 1 percentage point and average debt life rose to 5.5 years from 3.9 years. At the same time, VENA's debt to the holding company level fell to US$75 million, from US$221 million on March 31, 2004.
"On March 31, 2005, we issued a securitization program, first of its kind in Mexico to replace a former factoring program at VENA. The program is composed of Ps.550 million in "Certificados Bursatiles Preferentes", issued in Mexico and US$19 million of "Certificados Subordinados" in the U.S. We are pleased to say that the preferred instruments were three times oversubscribed. This transaction was rated mxAAA by Standard & Poor's and Aaamx by Moody's." "At a consolidated level, all this extends life of debt to 4.3 years from 3.8 years."
Mr. Rodriguez concluded, "On April 1, 2005 we sold our 100% interest in Plasticos Bosco, S.A. de C.V. This, divestiture, together with the other three completed over the last 18 months, finalizes our strategy of focusing on our core glass business units. Vitro today is a pure glass company operating in geographically diversified markets, selectively pursuing a unique position as a niche market leader, producing quality products for a diversified client base and plans to continue building our market position in the glass industry.
All figures provided in this announcement are in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles in Mexico, except otherwise indicated. Dollar figures are in nominal US dollars and are obtained by dividing nominal pesos for month by the end of month fix exchange rate published by Banxico. In the case of the Balance Sheet, US dollar translations are made at the fix exchange rate as of the end of the period. The exchange rate as of January 31, 2005 was 11.2991, as of February 28, 2005 was 11.0955 and as of March 31, 2005 was 11.1783 pesos per US dollar. Certain amounts may not sum due to rounding. All figures and comparisons are in USD terms, unless otherwise stated.