Packaging group Smurfit Kappa has reported a 2% increase in revenues for the year to the end of December, while its pre-tax profits rose by 29%.

Smurfit Kappa's revenues increased to €8.083 billion for the year from €7.957 billion the previous year, while pre-tax profits rose to €378m from €294m after what the company called a "solid operating performance".

The company also said its final dividend for the year increased by 30% from 30.75 cent to 40 cent per share.

Smurfit Kappa CEO Gary McGann said the results was strong evidence of the resilience of the company's "integrated and geographically diverse business model".

Shares in the company closed 2.5% higher in Dublin trade today.

After a slower than expected first quarter, the company said it saw solid European corrugated volumes during the year with a 2% year on year increased for the full 12 months.

Smurfit Kappa noted that the third quarter of the year was especially strong with 3% growth reported.

The company said that demand for recycled container board in Europe has been robust throughout the year and the supply/demand outlook for the market remains "benign".

It said that despite a 7% increase in US kraftliner imports to Europe up to last November, the European kraftliner market remained good during the year, achieving a €30 per tonne increase in September.

In the Americas, the company said that its corrugated volumes rose by almost 7% after a number of acquisitions in the region. 

But it said that despite a "resilient" underlying performance in Venezuela, the country's weakening currency has had a negative impact on the region's results.

It said that the economic environment there will remain "difficult" this year.

"Looking to 2015, assuming no material dis-improvement in European economic conditions, we expect to grow the business through continued superior operating performance, high return internal investments and targeted acquisitions," commented the CEO Gary McGann.

"The group expects to deliver earnings growth, stronger free cash flows, and through the judicious use of capital to continue to improve returns for our shareholders," he added.