The second quarter of 2003 -- traditionally the slowest quarter of the year for Interceramic -- saw a slight sales increase from the same period in 2002, but not up to the company's expectations for the quarter, according to Interceramic.

Consolidated sales of $72.2 million for the second quarter of the year were 5.49 percent over second quarter sales of $68.4 million in 2002, but lower gross margin for the period resulted in gross income for the quarter virtually identical to the same quarter in 2002. For the first six months of the year, consolidated sales were at $146.3 million compared to $145 million in the first semester of 2002.

Sales in Mexico for the second quarter were up 7.17 percent from the second quarter of 2002, at $37.9 million. The amount of product sold by the company in Mexico in the second quarter increased by 22.64 percent over the second quarter of 2002 with increased sales levels coming both from independent and company owned distribution.

The same basic trend held true for the first six months of 2003, with Mexican sales of $79.9 million barely ahead of sales of US $79.6 million, while product sales grew by 16.95 percent over the two respective periods..

In the international markets, second quarter 2003 sales were slightly better than sales in the same period of last year, up 3.69 percent to $34.3 million from $33.1 million. Sales for the quarter were also up from the first quarter of the year-6.69 percent higher-and represent record sales for a quarter in the international markets.

For the six months, international sales of $66.4 million were only 1.59 percent higher than in the first six months of 2002 with the amount of product sold over the first six months of 2003 in the international markets trailing 10.47 percent behind last year.

At US $4.7 million, operating income for the quarter was 26 percent behind operating income of US $6.4 million recorded in the same period of last year.

The company's EBITDA suffered as well, dipping to $8.6 million in the second quarter of 2003, 13.81 percent lower than the $10 million of last year. On a six-month basis, operating income of $11.1 million was 24.78 percent less than operating income of $14.8 million recorded in the first six months of 2002 and EBITDA of $18.8 million falling 14.46 percent behind the $21.9 million in the first six months last year.