Putting Pizzazz Into Glass
Vitro, the Mexican glassmaker, is trying to fend off Asian competitors with value-added products. But a weighty debt load and weakening cashflow aren't making the company's survival any easier.
There is little glory being the maker of bottles for the
likes of Coke, Corona and Bacardi. A bottle dressed up in
someone else's brand is still just a mass of melted and molded
glass - in short, a commodity that can't command a premium
Vitro, the Mexican company that makes glass bottles, as well
as car windshields and construction glass has struggled with
this fundamental handicap ever since losing its monopoly in
Mexico nearly a decade ago. In the last few years, as cheap
Asian glass has flooded the global market, Vitro's weakness has
become even more of a liability. It doesn't help that the
company is financially overextended, struggling with tightening
margins, low sales growth and a weakening peso.
José Domene, Vitro's chief operating officer, says,
"Our modus operandi is not sustainable long term unless we
start doing something different." He admits that tidy profits
from a local...
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