Interceramic Reports Record Sales, Operating Income and EBITDA

Apr 17, 2001, 01:00 ET from Interceramic

    CHIHUAHUA, Mexico, April 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Building upon the momentum
 established in preceding quarters, Interceramic (NYSE:   ICM) achieved a number
 of Company records in the first quarter of 2001, posting record sales,
 operating income and EBITDA.  Consolidated sales for the quarter of
 US $69.9 million were fueled by continued strength in Mexico, where sales of
 US $41.9 million bested sales in the same quarter of 2000 by 14 percent.  We
 have already benefited from the strategic association concluded last year
 between the Company and Wisconsin-based Kohler Co. for the distribution by
 Interceramic of Kohler products in Mexico, with sales and breadth of
 distribution of these fine bathroom and kitchen fixtures exceeding management
 expectations.  During the quarter, we also opened a second facility in central
 Mexico for the manufacture and distribution of installation materials like
 adhesives and grouts as part of our joint venture with Custom Building
 Products from California, which has posted excellent results.  More than
 doubling our capacity, this new state of the art facility will allow us to
 reduce the shipping costs associated with these low cost, high weight products
 to our distributors in the southern portion of the country.  At
 US $28.0 million, International sales for the first quarter of 2001 lagged
 about 3 percent behind International sales in the first quarter of 2000, but
 were more than 6 percent ahead of International sales in the final quarter of
 2000, signaling a modest recovery of ground in the sprawling and fiercely
 competitive American markets.
      While we have made progress in our product mix, with the anticipated
 cooling of the global economies much of Interceramic's focus has been on the
 reduction of expenses and increased efficiency of our processes.  This can be
 most clearly seen in our work force, which has decreased by about 18 percent
 from the first quarter of 2000 to the first quarter of 2001, resulting in
 sales per employee for the quarter being more than 29 percent higher than the
 same quarter in 2000 and operating income per employee increasing by over
 32 percent over the comparable period.  More significantly, over the past
 two years operating income per employee has more than doubled.  An increase in
 sales linked with a material headcount reduction is a great trend, and we are
 aggressively searching for further savings in the production process as well
 as in operations in order to attain the lean, high-tech model of many of our
 European competitors.
     At US $7.7 million, operating income for the first quarter of 2001 grew by
 almost 9 percent over operating income of US $7.1 million in the first quarter
 of 2000.  This left us with an operating margin just slightly over 11 percent.
     First quarter 2001 EBITDA of US $11.1 million was almost 6 percent better
 than EBITDA of US $10.5 million in the first quarter of 2000 and looks even
 better on a preceding 12 month basis -- where EBITDA for the 12 months ending
 March 31, 2001 of US $40.7 million topped the US $37.7 million EBITDA for the
 similar period ended March 31, 2000 by 8 percent.  Successive quarters of
 increased cash flow have allowed Interceramic to make real reductions in debt,
 and we ended the first quarter of 2001 with net debt of US $119.4 million
 compared to US $135.9 million at the end of March last year.  Also at quarter
 end, we had a coverage ratio of 3.34 -- our best ever and more than 18 percent
 better than a coverage ratio of 2.84 in the first quarter of last year.
     We are pleased by the success we have achieved in reducing our work force
 and ratcheting up our plants to peak levels of efficiency, and we believe that
 additional savings can be obtained.  Our sales in Mexico remain strong, both
 at the independent franchise level and in our Company-owned distribution, but
 we are looking for material improvement in our International sales.  With a
 view to reducing employee costs and refocusing the efforts of our
 International team, we have eliminated several top management positions in the
 United States in recent weeks, and senior management has set the development
 and implementation of a dynamic, coherent and attainable International
 strategy a top Company priority for the coming months.  With the growing
 consumption of ceramic tile in the United States over the past year, it is
 imperative that the Company insert itself firmly as a key-player in the
 International markets to capitalize on the overall growth in the industry.
     We will continue to focus on improvements on efficiency and productivity
 at the same time that our top priority continues to be to provide excellent
 customer service and new innovative products to fend off competition and
 continue to offer the market the most value in our product offering.  We thank
 our shareholders, customers, employees and suppliers for their support.
 
      Oscar E. Almeida
      Chairman of the Board
 
      Victor D. Almeida
      Chief Executive Officer
 
     This document contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of
 the United States Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which reflect the Company's
 views about future events and financial performance.  Actual events and
 results could differ materially from those stated herein and, accordingly,
 undue reliance should not be placed upon them.  The forward-looking statements
 speak only of their dates and the Company undertakes no obligation to update
 or revise any of them.
 
 

SOURCE Interceramic
    CHIHUAHUA, Mexico, April 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Building upon the momentum
 established in preceding quarters, Interceramic (NYSE:   ICM) achieved a number
 of Company records in the first quarter of 2001, posting record sales,
 operating income and EBITDA.  Consolidated sales for the quarter of
 US $69.9 million were fueled by continued strength in Mexico, where sales of
 US $41.9 million bested sales in the same quarter of 2000 by 14 percent.  We
 have already benefited from the strategic association concluded last year
 between the Company and Wisconsin-based Kohler Co. for the distribution by
 Interceramic of Kohler products in Mexico, with sales and breadth of
 distribution of these fine bathroom and kitchen fixtures exceeding management
 expectations.  During the quarter, we also opened a second facility in central
 Mexico for the manufacture and distribution of installation materials like
 adhesives and grouts as part of our joint venture with Custom Building
 Products from California, which has posted excellent results.  More than
 doubling our capacity, this new state of the art facility will allow us to
 reduce the shipping costs associated with these low cost, high weight products
 to our distributors in the southern portion of the country.  At
 US $28.0 million, International sales for the first quarter of 2001 lagged
 about 3 percent behind International sales in the first quarter of 2000, but
 were more than 6 percent ahead of International sales in the final quarter of
 2000, signaling a modest recovery of ground in the sprawling and fiercely
 competitive American markets.
      While we have made progress in our product mix, with the anticipated
 cooling of the global economies much of Interceramic's focus has been on the
 reduction of expenses and increased efficiency of our processes.  This can be
 most clearly seen in our work force, which has decreased by about 18 percent
 from the first quarter of 2000 to the first quarter of 2001, resulting in
 sales per employee for the quarter being more than 29 percent higher than the
 same quarter in 2000 and operating income per employee increasing by over
 32 percent over the comparable period.  More significantly, over the past
 two years operating income per employee has more than doubled.  An increase in
 sales linked with a material headcount reduction is a great trend, and we are
 aggressively searching for further savings in the production process as well
 as in operations in order to attain the lean, high-tech model of many of our
 European competitors.
     At US $7.7 million, operating income for the first quarter of 2001 grew by
 almost 9 percent over operating income of US $7.1 million in the first quarter
 of 2000.  This left us with an operating margin just slightly over 11 percent.
     First quarter 2001 EBITDA of US $11.1 million was almost 6 percent better
 than EBITDA of US $10.5 million in the first quarter of 2000 and looks even
 better on a preceding 12 month basis -- where EBITDA for the 12 months ending
 March 31, 2001 of US $40.7 million topped the US $37.7 million EBITDA for the
 similar period ended March 31, 2000 by 8 percent.  Successive quarters of
 increased cash flow have allowed Interceramic to make real reductions in debt,
 and we ended the first quarter of 2001 with net debt of US $119.4 million
 compared to US $135.9 million at the end of March last year.  Also at quarter
 end, we had a coverage ratio of 3.34 -- our best ever and more than 18 percent
 better than a coverage ratio of 2.84 in the first quarter of last year.
     We are pleased by the success we have achieved in reducing our work force
 and ratcheting up our plants to peak levels of efficiency, and we believe that
 additional savings can be obtained.  Our sales in Mexico remain strong, both
 at the independent franchise level and in our Company-owned distribution, but
 we are looking for material improvement in our International sales.  With a
 view to reducing employee costs and refocusing the efforts of our
 International team, we have eliminated several top management positions in the
 United States in recent weeks, and senior management has set the development
 and implementation of a dynamic, coherent and attainable International
 strategy a top Company priority for the coming months.  With the growing
 consumption of ceramic tile in the United States over the past year, it is
 imperative that the Company insert itself firmly as a key-player in the
 International markets to capitalize on the overall growth in the industry.
     We will continue to focus on improvements on efficiency and productivity
 at the same time that our top priority continues to be to provide excellent
 customer service and new innovative products to fend off competition and
 continue to offer the market the most value in our product offering.  We thank
 our shareholders, customers, employees and suppliers for their support.
 
      Oscar E. Almeida
      Chairman of the Board
 
      Victor D. Almeida
      Chief Executive Officer
 
     This document contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of
 the United States Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which reflect the Company's
 views about future events and financial performance.  Actual events and
 results could differ materially from those stated herein and, accordingly,
 undue reliance should not be placed upon them.  The forward-looking statements
 speak only of their dates and the Company undertakes no obligation to update
 or revise any of them.
 
 SOURCE  Interceramic