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Sunday 23 September 2018

Smurfit Kappa knocks back fresh bid from International Paper

The fresh approach values each Smurfit Kappa share at 37.54 euros (£32.77).

Smurfit Kappa rejected a second takeover bid from International Paper (PA)
Smurfit Kappa rejected a second takeover bid from International Paper (PA)

By Ben Woods, Press Association Chief City Correspondent

Packaging giant Smurfit Kappa has rebuffed a sweetened takeover offer from US rival International Paper, saying the 8.9 billion euro (£7.8 billion) move failed to reflect the firm’s true value.

The group said a new bid had been tabled on March 22, which comprised of 25.25 euros (£22.04) in cash and 0.3028 of new shares in International Paper.

The fresh approach values each Smurfit Kappa share at 37.54 euros (£32.77), up from the previous offer of 36.46 euros (£31.83) made on March 6.

We delivered a record performance in 2017 and underlying trading momentum has continued into 2018 Liam O'Mahony, Smurfit Kappa chairman

Shares in Smurfit slipped more than 3% in morning trading on the London Stock Exchange after it knocked back the US suitor.

Liam O’Mahony, chairman of Smurfit Kappa, said it was in the best interests of investors for the group to remain an independent company based in Dublin.

He said: “On 6 March, the board of Smurfit Kappa unanimously rejected International Paper’s unsolicited and highly opportunistic proposal.

“The revised proposal does not offer Smurfit Kappa shareholders much more than compensation for the fall in International Paper’s share price since that date and again entirely fails to value the group’s true intrinsic business worth and future prospects.

“We delivered a record performance in 2017 and underlying trading momentum has continued into 2018.”

Smurfit Kappa, one of the world’s biggest packaging companies, announced in February that it had boosted pre-tax profits by 12% to 576 million euros (£502.9 million) for the year ending in December.

The group, which employs around 46,000 staff across 35 countries, is among a clutch of paper and packaging firms enjoying an uplift due to the meteoric rise of online shopping.

New York-listed International Paper has a 52,000-strong workforce and booked sales of $22 billion US dollars (£15.5 billion) in 2017.

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