Packaging group Smurfit Kappa has recorded a €228m pre-tax profit in the first half of 2014, up 79% on the same period of last year.

The company said revenue during the period was 1% higher at €3.95bn, with a sharp fall in exceptional costs helping to push income higher.

The group said revenues at its European business were 3% higher as demand and pricing rose year-on-year.

Smurfit Kappa said its American division was also performing well, however it still reported a 7% fall in revenue, which the company blamed on the adoption of a new exchange rate mechanism in Venezuela.

The firm said it had made cost savings of €50m during the six month period, primarily in raw material expenses, and expected to double this figure by the end of the year.

It also increased its free cash flow to €135m, which it said would support its previously-announced aim of making acquisitions in the Americas and eastern Europe.