Vitro, Mexico-Based Glass Maker, Picks Up PPG’s Flat Glass Operations

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Vitro S.A.B. de C.V., producer of flat glass and glass containers, is buying the flat glass manufacturing and glass coatings operations of PPG (NYSE: PPG), leaving PPG focused on paints, coatings and specialty materials. The Mexican company will pay $750 million for the operations, and the deal is expected to close by year-end.

Vitro, based in San Pedro Garza García, Nuevo Le-n, is acquiring PPG’s entire flat glass business, which makes glass used in mostly in commercial and residential construction. The business includes four manufacturing plants with five glass furnaces in Fresno, California; Salem, Oregon; Carlisle, Pennsylvania; and Wichita Falls, Texas; four distribution and fabrication facilities in Canada; and a research-and-development center in Harmar, Pennsylvania, along with 1,200 employees.

The acquisition allows Vitro into the U.S. and Canadian flat glass and high performance glass coatings markets in which it previously had no significant presence, says Adrián Sada Cueva, CEO of Vitro. For PPG, the Vitro deal, along with PPG’s announced divestiture of its European fiber glass business, leaves the company with 98 percent of its business focused on paints, coatings and specialty materials, says Michael McGarry, PPG CEO.

PPG is headquartered in Pittsburgh with sales of $15.3 billion in 2015 to customers in construction, consumer products, industrial and transportation markets, and aftermarkets. As the company seeks to focus on its core businesses, PPG has made several recent acquisitions. It is acquiring MetoKote Corp., which applies enhanced paint adhesion and paints with electrocoat, powder and liquid coatings to the parts of its customers. PPG bought out its joint-venture partner, Madinal Enterprises, in Chemfil Canada Ltd., which makes pre-treatment products and chemicals for the automotive and industrial markets. The company also sold Pittsburgh Glass Works LLC, automotive glass maker, to LKQ Corp. (Nasdaq: LKQ), an auto parts company. PPG was a minority owner in Pittsburgh Glass, with Kohlberg & Co. private equity firm as the majority owner selling to LKQ. And PPG won the Mergers & Acquisitions M&A Mid-Market Strategic Buyer of the Year Award for 2014.

While the Vitro deal is an example of a Mexican strategic buyer acquiring operations in the U.S., improving economic conditions in Mexico has boosted interest in cross-border deals by prospective acquirers in the U.S. For the flat glass deal, Alfaro, Dávila y Ríos, SC LLP was Vitro’s financial adviser for the transaction and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton was Vitro’s legal adviser.

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