Year over year consolidated sales increased 7.9 percent and EBITDA rose 10.6 percent.
The consolidated EBITDA margin was up 40 basis points to 16.9 percent for the quarter. Excluding the divestiture of Quimica M in March 2006 and the acquisition of Vidrios Panamenos (VIPASA) in April 2006, consolidated sales rose 8.0 percent and consolidated EBITDA also excluding the flat glass inventory reduction effect increased 13.4 percent year over year.
Alvaro Rodriguez, Chief Financial Officer, commented "This was a very solid quarter from both an operational and a financial standpoint. We achieved the all-time highest comparable consolidated EBITDA and reported the lowest comparable total gross debt level.”
Mr. Rodriguez continued, "We expected for things to start to slowdown at Glass Containers, but our very strong management team has continued to report outstanding results, with sales up 16 percent and EBITDA up 18 percent. In fact, comparable EBITDA was at an all-time high for a third quarter.
“Trends at Flat Glass also remain very positive, with the business unit reporting the highest third quarter EBITDA since 3Q04. On a comparable basis, sales rose 2.3 percent and EBITDA, excluding the effect of the inventory reduction, rose 12 percent for the quarter and 31 percent for the first nine months." "We continued to make progress with our strategy to reduce holding company debt. Year over year, we lowered gross debt at the holding company level by US$103 million and consolidated gross debt by US$231 million to US$1.209 billion, the lowest level ever on a comparable basis. In addition, consolidated net debt declined by US$88 million during the same period. We also made headway with the sale of real estate. At the beginning of the year we said we would close US$40 million in real estate sales and I am pleased to report that so far we have exceeded our target and closed real estate sales for a total of US$43 million. As part of this process we have sold one of the buildings from our corporate headquarters complex, which once again proves that there are no sacred cows at Vitro” commented Mr. Rodriguez.
We continue to focus and strengthen our core businesses by assuming full control of Vitro Flex. In relation to this transaction Hugo Lara, President of the Flat Glass business unit, commented “On September 29, 2006 Vitro assumed 100 percent control of Vitro Flex, ending its joint venture agreement. This transaction provides Vitro Plan with the required flexibility to optimize its auto-safety glass manufacturing system. We intend to use this additional capacity to complement Vitro Automotriz, Vitro Plan’s largest auto-glass subsidiary, and to further expand our business and strengthen our relationship with our customers.”
Mr. Rodriguez closed “We continue to deliver on the financial plan established during mid-2005 to move Vitro forward to become a company with lower cost of capital, long term funds, higher cash flow generation and a solid 3Q'06 3Q'05 % Change.