Mexico City — Vitro, a leading glass manufacturing company owned by the Sada family, one of Mexico’s most powerful, will continue to be listed on the Mexican stock market after announcing a corporate restructuring process that will involve the creation of a new private company to explore alternative business opportunities, Claudio Del Valle, CFO, said in an interview with Bloomberg Línea.
As part of that process, Vitro SAB will become a smaller entity, while the company is set to retain the entirety of its chemical business, 49% of its packaging business, and 19% its architectural business, according to a document distributed to the public in mid-November. “It remains a reasonably sized entity to maintain its presence in the market. The chemical business alone generates between US$50 and US$60 million in EBITDA annually,” said the executive in the interview. “Many companies currently on the stock market do not generate that.”
On December 1, Vitro proposed a corporate restructuring to its shareholders, considering the transfer of the entire automotive business and the majority of the architectural (81%) and packaging (51%) businesses to Vitro International, a private entity based in Luxembourg.
With the creation of the new entity, the company’s management expected to raise US$200 million in capital to continue investing in its operations in Mexico, boost its global expansion, and capitalize on nearshoring opportunities. “One month later, we already have the US$200 million in the market; over 95% of the shareholders contributed their capital,” said Del Valle.
In April 2023, Vitro signed an agreement with First Solar to supply glass for the solar panels produced by the American manufacturer. The agreement was extended in October, and the Mexican company announced a US$180 million investment to upgrade a furnace and adapt its facilities.
In the context of fiscal incentives to promote clean energy by the US government, the Monterrey-based company sees potential in electric vehicle electrification and the transition to renewable sources, leveraging acquisitions made in previous years.
Claudio Del Valle stated that these new opportunities require more capital and not more debt, making the restructuring a competitive option to do so outside of Mexico, because it provides greater opportunities to raise funds. “Our competitors are in global markets. Markets have differences in efficiency, depth, and size.”
Vitro went through a financial restructuring in the early 2010s but reshaped its business in subsequent years. In 2015, it sold the food and beverage packaging segment, with which it was founded over 100 years ago. The following year, in 2016, it acquired the flat glass business of the American PPG, and in 2017, it purchased the automotive glass producer Pittsburgh Glass Works (PGW).
This also reconfigured the company’s revenues. While in the third quarter of 2014, domestic sales accounted for 65.8% of Vitro’s total consolidated sales, by the third quarter of 2023, this contribution had decreased to 32.6%.
Vitro: Shareholder Controversy
The corporate restructuring, which gives Vitro SAB shareholders the option to decide whether to participate in the new non-stock entity until April 30, 2024, has generated controversy in the last month.
The proposal for corporate restructuring was unanimously approved by the shareholders attending the assembly held on December 1, according to Del Valle. The attendance rate was 89.31%, according to agreements published on the Mexican Stock Exchange.
Vitro’s major shareholders are Adrián G. Sada Cueva and Adrián G. Sada González, who together have an interest of 41.87%, as well as Mexican investor David Martínez with a 21.65% stake, according to the 2022 annual report, the most recent available for the company.
“Only Vitro shareholders were given the opportunity to participate in this entity. No one else was invited,” said Del Valle.
The CFO explained that the deadline until April 30 was set for both institutional and minority investors to make the decision to participate. According to Del Valle, Vitro is currently reaching out to brokerage houses to have them, in turn, reach out to their clients and clarify doubts for minority shareholders. “We want them to feel part of the process, and we would love to have 100% participation.”