Monday 19 February 2018

Packaging giant Smurfit Kappa has 'no plans' to move listing from ISE

Smurfit Kappa chief executive Gary McGann
Smurfit Kappa chief executive Gary McGann
Sarah Stack

Sarah Stack

Packaging group Smurfit Kappa has no immediate plans to move its listing from the Irish Stock Exchange.

Chief executive Gary McGann admitted shareholders have raised a possible move to London like other high-profile firms – including CRH and DCC – because it's topical, but insisted it won't follow suit just because it's in vogue.

"It would be untrue to say people haven't asked the question," he said.

"We have our primary listing in Dublin and obviously we have a listing in London as well. As any Plc, the board will continue to review options for shareholders and we do that all the time across a range of things.

"The outcome of that is that we are in Dublin and we are happy to be listed in Dublin and if there was a reason where the shareholders were being disadvantaged then we'd consider it.

"But we've no current plans to make any changes."

The firm's share price fell by 2.5pc early yesterday despite reporting first quarter pre-tax profits jumped by 81pc to €104m. Revenues for the three-month period were up 2pc to €1.83bn.

It said the results reflected a strong underlying performance in its Americas business, as well as price improvements in its European packaging operations. It also reduced financing costs after it completed a more attractive financing structure with lenders. EBITDA growth was 12pc.

However, the company was hit with about €18m in losses when it had to reduce the value of its assets and its cash balances in Venezuela and downtime in its kraftliner operations also cost approximately €8m.

Mr McGann said following a number of years of debt pay-down, the company's balance sheet is in good shape in terms of equity and relative debt levels.

Smurfit Kappa is now focused on incremental high return capital projects and accretive acquisitions while sustaining a progressive dividend policy.

"Going forward, acquisition is way up the line in terms of priorities," Mr McGann added.

Irish Independent

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