Business Irish

Saturday 16 December 2017

Smurfit Kappa eyes 'significant' acquisitions despite earning dip

CEO Tony Smurfit, non-executive director Liam O’Mahony and chief financial officer Ken Bowles at the Smurfit Kappa Group AGM. Photo: Maxwells
CEO Tony Smurfit, non-executive director Liam O’Mahony and chief financial officer Ken Bowles at the Smurfit Kappa Group AGM. Photo: Maxwells
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Smurfit Kappa suffered a first-quarter dip in earning, but sees positive pricing lifting prospects this year.

The packaging group's core profit slipped 1pc to €278m in the first quarter compared to a year earlier. Revenue rose 6pc to €2.13bn.

Smurfit Kappa said it expects margins to improve as it increases box prices progressively to offset higher costs.

"We are pleased to report that SKG [Smurfit Kappa Group] has again delivered a strong set of results," Tony Smurfit, group chief executive, said.

"We still have it all to do but, assuming nothing goes wrong with the French elections to damage European confidence, we don't see anything out there that's negative," he said after the company's results announcement yesterday.

The CEO also said that the group's pipeline for potential deals is "a little more full than it was" and that it is working on a number of potential transactions. Most are smaller, bolt-on deals but a couple may be significant, he said.

Revenues in Europe increased by €43m year-on-year, while in the Americas revenue increased by €85m.

The company plans to issue a final dividend for 2016 of 57.6 cent a share, up 20pc from last year.

Smurfit said that most of the 34 countries where it operates are achieving growth.

Long-serving director and one-time Smurfit Kappa CEO Gary McGann retired from the board following yesterday's AGM, as did fellow non-executive director Thomas Brodin.

In March, Mr McGann had indicated he was standing down from the board to focus on Aryzta, where he is the increasingly hands-on chairman.

Irish Independent

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