Paper and packaging giant Smurfit Kappa has reported lower profits and revenues for the six months to the end of June but said it had decided to pay an interim dividend to shareholders.

Smurfit Kappa said its half year pre-tax profits fell by 16% to €383m from €456m the same time last year, while its revenues were down 9% to €4.203 billion from €4.622 billion.

Amid uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic in April, Smurfit Kappa withdrew its recommendation to pay a final dividend of 80.9 cent per share.

But it said today that it now decided to pay an interim dividend of 80.9 cent per share, the equivalent amount of the withdrawn final dividend. 

Tony Smurfit, Smurfit Kappa's chief executive, said he was incredibly proud of the company's workforce who have delivered these results against the backdrop of Covid-19, which created an extremely challenging operating environment. 

"Our key priorities have been, and continue to be, the health, safety and well-being of our 46,000 employees and the continuity of supply to our 65,000 customers," the CEO said. 

"The strength and scale of our integrated system and our supply chain expertise meant we were able to ensure the continuity of supply of essential products for everyday life across multiple sectors," he said. 

"We are again proving that our business model, geographic diversity and our commitment to innovation and sustainability continue to deliver," he added.

Mr Smurfit noted that the company's paper-based packaging is renewable, recyclable and bio-degradable. 

"Together with the mega-trends of e-commerce and the consumers' desire for sustainable packaging solutions, corrugated is the most innovative and sustainable transport and merchandising solution," he said.

He said the company is "uniquely positioned" to capitalise on these long-term trends with its market offering and smart business applications that enable its customers to increase sales, reduce costs and mitigate risk. 

Shares in the company moved higher in Dublin trade today.