The results were mixed, with the quarter generally comparing unfavorably with the same quarter last year but showing improvement over the final quarter of 2002. Consolidated sales of $74.2 million for the first quarter of the year were 3.16 percent behind first quarter sales in 2002. Sales in Mexico for the first quarter were down 5.06 percent from the first quarter of 2002, at US $42 million, although this result was impacted by the drop in the value of the peso as Mexican sales for the first quarter of 2003, measured in real pesos, were higher than in the first quarter of 2002.
Additionally, product sales in Mexico remain fairly healthy. During the first quarter of the year the company sold 4.2 million square meters of tile in Mexico, an increase of 12.16 percent over the amount of product sold in the first quarter last year.
At $32.1 million, international sales were only 0.55 percent behind first quarter sales of $32.3 million in the first quarter of 2002. However, the amount of product sold in the international markets dipped considerably, down 11.8 percent to 2.4 million square meters from the 2.8 million square meters sold in the first quarter of last year.
The company posted a decrease in operating income from $8.4 million in 2002 to $6.4 million in the first quarter this year. Operating income for the quarter showed a growth of 6.98 percent over operating income of US $6 million in the last quarter of 2002.
Similarly, the company's EBITDA of US $10.1 million for the first quarter of 2003 registered a 15 percent decrease over EBITDA in the first quarter last year of US $11.9 million -- but grew by 3.6 percent over the final quarter last year.
Operating expenses for the first quarter of 2003 represented 27.15 percent of sales compared to figures of 27.14 percent and 27.41 percent for the first and last quarters respectively of last year.
Decreased borrowing costs have continued to improve the company's debt service coverage ratio, which stood at 5 at the end of the first quarter of 2003 compared to 3.8 at the same time last year. The ratio of debt to EBITDA soured slightly, going from 2.4 at the end of the first quarter 2002 to 2.9 at the end of the first quarter this year.