DS Smith confident on trading despite volume challenges


Packaging giant DS Smith has reported that its trading “continues to progress well” despite expected continued macro-economic uncertainty and “ongoing subdued volumes” in some markets.

In a trading update issued ahead of is AGM today (3 September) and relating to the period since 1 May 2019, the London-headquartered group said its expectations for overall financial performance remain unchanged.

In a call to investors this morning, DS Smith group chief executive Miles Roberts said: “Overall the business continues to progress well, despite the as expected continued macro-economic uncertainty, and our expectations for overall financial performance remain unchanged.

“Our excellent customer engagement and differentiators of scale, service, quality and innovation have enabled strong pricing discipline.

“This combined with ongoing cost efficiencies and focus on cash generation, together with new business wins in Europe and the US, give us confidence in our resilient business model despite the ongoing subdued volumes in some markets, in particular those economies with significant export-led exposure, including Germany.

“We continue to win with our customers and as such we expect an improving trend in our volumes through this financial year as we previously indicated.”

The company said the integration of Europac, which it acquired in summer 2018, and synergy delivery “are progressing very well, with excellent customer and employee engagement”.

Construction of the company’s greenfield packaging plant in Indiana, meanwhile, which will “significantly enhance” its capability in the US and reduce its long paper position, is fully on track, with production expected to start in this calendar year.

Finally, the business added it continues to expect completion of the disposal of its plastics division before the end of this calendar year.

DS Smith reported revenue and profit increases in its full-year results for the 12 months to 30 April 2019. The company’s share price fell by around 3% to 330.7p in early trading today but has since rallied to 335.7p at the time of writing.

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