Business

Sunday 19 November 2017

Smurfit didn't fall far from tree

While Smurfit Kappa has been lauded this week by Davy Stockbrokers, which is keen on the packaging giant's relatively new presence in Mexico and its potential for larger-scale penetration of the US market, one of the Smurfit clan is keeping busy with a completely separate packaging firm.

Dermot Smurfit is the chairman of AIM-listed Powerflute, which operates a plant in Finland. Mr Smurfit and his family own 16pc of the business, while brother Michael Smurfit owns 21pc.

About 90pc of Powerflute's output is used by clients to ship fruit and vegetables. Last year wasn't an easy one for the company.

Its revenue fell 7pc to €113.1m and operating profit tumbled 52pc to €6.9m as it faced difficult trading and costs linked to capital projects.

But fast-forward to this week, and Dermot Smurfit is more upbeat. "The group has performed well during the first half due to a combination of broadly favourable market conditions and a greatly improved production performance," he said yesterday.

The company has diversified into new markets in the southern hemisphere and has reduced the impact of the normal seasonal slowdown in Europe over the summer months.

The shares are trading around a 12-month high of 25p. Still, that's less than half the more than 50p they were at five years ago. A lot more cardboard to sell yet.

Irish Independent

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