DS Smith expecting second-half margin growth


DS Smith said its financial performance has continued trading in line with its expectations and that it is anticipating group margins to progress further in the second half of its financial year ending 30 April 2019.

In a pre-close trading update issued today (30 April), the London-headquartered packaging giant said its operating cashflow generation is also looking to be stronger than in the comparable period last year.

The company has reported ongoing growth in corrugated box volumes and market share gains, driven by its “resilient” FMCG-focused customer base and its strong position in the e-commerce packaging market.

All of its regions have been in growth, with particular strength in the UK, Italy and Poland, partially offset by some volume weakness in certain export-led markets, including Germany.

The company said its US business “continues to perform well with strong margins and returns ahead of our acquisition case” while its integration of Europac, which it acquired last year, “is going well”.

Earlier this month the group agreed the proposed sale of two of its packaging businesses to International Paper.

The company said the sales of the businesses, based in north-west France and Portugal, would fulfil the commitment it made to the European Commission in relation to the clearance of its Europac acquisition.

DS Smith group chief executive Miles Roberts said: “The financial year ending 30 April 2019 has been one of substantial progress.

“The acquisition of Europac has significantly enhanced our European operations and the group has also been strengthened strategically and financially by the agreed disposal of our plastics division we announced in March.

“Notwithstanding the current economic uncertainties, this progress, together with our focus on the stable FMCG market, and enhanced cost and efficiency improvements position the business well.”

DS Smith’s results for the full year to 30 April 2019 will be published on 13 June 2019. The company’s share price was down by around 3% in early trading to 361.3p and stood at 362.8p at the time of writing.

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