Mondi reports on 2022

Mondi: volume growth in containerboard, kraft paper and pulp
Mondi: volume growth in containerboard, kraft paper and pulp

Mondi has posted sales on continuing operations up 28% last year, with an even bigger increase in operating profits at the packaging and paper group.

Group sales, excluding its Russian business, rose from €6.97bn (£6.15bn) to €8.9bn in the year to 31 December 2022, while the underlying operating profit of €1.44bn was up 85% on 2021. 

After the gain on disposal of its Personal Care Components business, the operating profit was €1.69bn, up 114%.

Underlying EBITDA increased by 60%, to €1.85bn. 

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a year ago, Mondi agreed a €1.5bn deal to sell its €821m turnover Syktyvkar integrated mill there to Augment, which is owned by Russian billionaire Viktor Kharitonin. 

At the end of last year it agreed a deal to sell its three remaining packaging converting operations in Russia – comprising a corrugated plant and two flexible packaging sites – to Gotek Group for €24m.

Prior to the war the Russian businesses had accounted for around 12% of Mondi’s global turnover. 

Mondi said the approval processes for the divestments remained ongoing. 

“As the disposals are being undertaken in an evolving political and regulatory environment, there can be no certainty as to when they will be completed,” the group stated. 

Regarding the continuing operations, group CEO Andrew King said that Mondi’s integrated business model had helped to deliver a “strong performance across the business”.

He said: “My sincere thanks go to all our colleagues for their excellent delivery and continued professionalism, agility and commitment in what has been a year impacted by significant external challenges.”

King said he was particularly pleased with the growth at Mondi’s Flexible Packaging wing. 

“Our innovative product offering means we can use paper where possible and plastic when useful to provide customers with a uniquely broad choice of flexible packaging solutions to meet their needs,” he stated. 

The business saw volume growth in containerboard, kraft paper and pulp sales.

Flexible Packaging sales were up 31% at just under €4.3bn, while underlying EBITDA jumped 41% to €797m.

At its Corrugated Packaging division sales were up 27% at €2.99bn while underlying EBITDA increased by 22% to €662m.

The Uncoated Fine Paper operation grew sales by 35% to €1.61bn, with the business making a huge improvement in underlying EBITDA which rose from €55m to €427m. 

Mondi said that average benchmark European uncoated fine paper selling prices and average benchmark European bleached hardwood pulp prices “were both up more than 40% year-on-year”. 

However, European uncoated fine paper and pulp prices have come under downward pressure in early 2023. 

Commenting on the outlook, Mondi pointed to “significant geopolitical and macro-economic uncertainties” in early 2023. 

“Whilst a number of input costs are starting to decline, we continue to see an environment of softer demand and pricing, with destocking expected to continue through the first quarter.”

The group said it remained confident, despite the challenging conditions.

Mondi completed its acquisition of Burgo’s Duino mill in Italy in January. It currently makes LWC but Mondi plans to convert it to make 420,000tpa of high-quality recycled containerboard. 

Earlier this month Mondi also announced that it had maintained its platinum EcoVadis Corporate Social Responsibility rating for the seventh year running. 

Mondi’s share price slipped on the results announcement, and fell from 1,475.50p to 1,370.20 (52-week high: 1,935.50, low: 1,233.50).