Tuesday 23 January 2018

Tony Smurfit open to takeover bid for Smurfit Kappa if 'right'

Tony Smurfit and Gary McGann pictured at the Smurfit Kappa AGM
Tony Smurfit and Gary McGann pictured at the Smurfit Kappa AGM
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Smurfit Kappa chief executive designate Tony Smurfit would back a takeover bid for the company in which his family history is steeped - if it was in shareholders' best interests.

Smurfit (51) is the son of Michael Smurfit, the K Club owner who built Smurfit Kappa into a world force in the paper and packaging business.

"I think when you're a professional manager you act in the best interest of the company at all times. If the board of directors thought that any potential bid for the company was in the best interest of the shareholders then of course I'd act accordingly," he told the Sunday Independent.

Tony Smurfit will take over as chief executive after Gary McGann retires at the end of August.

McGann, the top-paid chief executive among Ireland's biggest 20 listed companies, has earned more than €28m from Smurfit Kappa since 2007, the company's first full year as a listed entity. Smurfit has netted €18.5m in that time. He's been chief operations officer since 2002.

"The company's in a very good place. What we say is we want to accelerate our evolution as a company," Smurfit said.

"We're investing very strongly in the business, we got some opportunities to bring in acquisitions. We are operating in 33 countries worldwide.

"I think from the point of view of where we are, we've got a great legacy left by Gary - and I intend to build on that."

Memphis-based International Paper is rumoured to be circling Smurfit Kappa with a view to an €8bn bid.

The US company is hungry for "good ideas in which to invest, whether they're to strengthen and improve results within our existing businesses or selective M&A opportunities that are the right fit," chief executive Mark Sutton told Bloomberg early last week.

Sunday Indo Business

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