The Dallas Morning News

Mexican tilemaker closing in Texas

Shuttering of business based in Chihuahua will also mean loss of 400 jobs across state

- By ARCELIA MARTIN Staff Writer Twitter: @arcelitama­rtin

Interceram­ic Inc., the largest glazed floor tile manufactur­er in North America, will close its United States operations this year.

The Chihuahua, Mexico-based company reported in a filing with the Texas Workforce Commission that it will permanentl­y close its Carrollton corporate office, Garland manufactur­ing site and showrooms across the state, resulting in nearly 400 job cuts across Texas.

Interceram­ics did not respond to inquiries from The Dallas Morning News about what led to the company closing its U.S. doors. Mass layoff notices filed with TWC often don’t provide detailed reasons.

In its most recent quarterly results, Interceram­ics reported strong sales in Mexico but a drop in its internatio­nal markets. Measured in U.S. dollars, internatio­nal sales fell to $35 million in the last three months of the year compared with $38 million in the same period a year ago.

Interceram­ics is one of many Mexican corporatio­ns to establish its U.S. headquarte­rs in Dallas-fort Worth. At least 127 Mexican companies were doing business in Texas as of May 2019, according to Southern Methodist University’s Mission Foods Texas-mexico Center. About 27 are based in North Texas, including Avocados from Mexico, Gruma Corp. (the largest tortilla maker in the world), Cinépolis USA and Lala U.S.

They’re typically drawn to Texas by its business-friendly environmen­t, healthy local economies, highly-skilled workers, tax breaks, proximity to Mexico and major air travel hubs in Dallas-fort Worth and Houston.

Mexico also is Texas’ largest trading partner, accounting for more than $100 billion annually, said Glenn Hamer, CEO of the Texas Associatio­n of Business.

By shutting down its U.S. operations, Interceram­ic is cutting 161 jobs at its Garland facility and 118 at its corporate office and distributi­on center in Carrollton at the end of the month. The firm’s showrooms across Austin, Fort Worth, Houston, Spring, Plano and San Antonio employed nearly 100 workers.

The tile firm moved its U.S. headquarte­rs from Garland to Carrollton in 2016. The relocation across D-FW came with a new 330,000-square-foot office building and more than 150 employees transferri­ng to the Carrollton site.

Humberto Maese, then president of the company’s U.S. operations, said at the time that the new office was seen as a testament to the company’s future.

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