German ceramics company Villeroy & Boch AG has purchased the sanitary ware business from Grupo Industrial Saltillo, one of Mexico's leading industrial corporations, including three factories that produce St. Thomas Creations and Vitromex. This is Villeroy & Boch's first acquisition of a North American company.

The purchase price was not disclosed, but the acquired operations posted sales in 2005 of $60 million.

St. Thomas and Vitromex will continue to operate independently of Villeroy & Boch with their own management and selling and distribution channels, according to Frank Goering, worldwide leader of Villeroy & Boch's Bath and Wellness division.

“Nothing is going to change,” he said. “The companies will be run separately just as they are now.”