Smurfit Kappa's pre-tax profits up 11% last year

Wednesday 06 February 2013 18.12
Smurfit Kappa's final dividend for 2012 up 37% on 2011
Smurfit Kappa's final dividend for 2012 up 37% on 2011

Packaging group Smurfit Kappa has reported pre-tax profits of €331m for 2012, up 11% on the previous year as revenues were flat.

Smurfit Kappa said it earnings for 2012 rose by 13.9%, the second highest level since its flotation in 2007.

The company has declared a final dividend of 20.5 cent for the year, up 37% from the 15 cent in 2011.

It said this reflects its confidence in the the company's underlying performance and prospects of the group and the ''sustainable strength of its business model.''

See how Smurfit Kappa shares did in Dublin today.

Gary McGann, the company's chief executive, said that despite the challenging macro environment, a robust operational performance has allowed Smurfit Kappa to undertake several financial and strategic initiatives, which have left the group in a ''very good position to drive future growth and deliver increased value to shareholders.

During the year, the company completed a deal to buy OCCG for €260m - its first major acquisition since 2007. OCCG is a paper-packaging company with big corrugated and converting operations in Mexico and two corrugated plants and a paper mill in the US. It has been renamed Smurfit Kappa Orange County.

Reviewing its performance, it said that it has tried to mitigate the effects of volatile input costs on pricing by focusing on adding value to customer products and supply chains. It said that European box volumes were unchanged in the full year, while total corrugated volumes declined marginally. Its European kraftliner market saw prices increases of €90 per tonne last year.

Its European EBITDA rose by €32m to €844m in 2012 due to the maintenance of solid corrugated pricing along with continued implementation of process efficiencies.

The performance of its Latin American business varied significantly between countries with overall EBITDA down 15%. Political and social unrest in Venezuela and Argentina led to a number of production disruptions. But Columbia continued to perform well and its growing Mexican business had a strong 2012 result.

It said that the Americas business segment reported EBITDA of €212m, which represented 21% of its total earnings.

During the year, the company also managed to successfully refinance a significant portion of its existing debt, improving its debt maturity profile and diversifying its funding base.