DS Smith reports good progress

By Hannah Jordan, Wednesday 07 September 2016

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UK-based corrugated packaging giant DS Smith has reported performance in line with expectations as it eyes continued overseas expansion.

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Smith: Outlook remains positive despite political and economic uncertainty

Ahead of its annual general meeting on 6 September the company reported good volume of growth for the period from 1 May 2016, particularly from pan-European customers who were benefiting from the FTSE 250 firm’s continued expansion.

“We are pleased with our start to the year and the momentum within the business, as we continue to grow organically and by acquisition,” said group chief executive Miles Roberts.  

“Notwithstanding the increased political and economic uncertainty within Europe, our outlook remains positive.

“Packaging has ever increasing relevance in a dynamic retail and consumer environment and our recent acquisitions, together with the customer and market opportunities for growth, give us confidence for the future,” he added.

In its annual results in June, following five acquisitions in 2015/2016, DS Smith posted a 13% increase in adjusted operating profit to £379m on revenues of £4.07bn, up 6% on the previous year. 

The strong performance was partly attributed to a 3.1% growth in corrugated box volumes as well as its string of acquisitions, which included Duropack in Austria in May 2015 and Spanish Grupo Lantero in July followed by Greece-based Cartonpack and Turkey-based Milas Ambalaj in October 2015 and January 2016 respectively.

It has since acquired UK firms TRM Packaging and Creo as well as Danish business Deku-Pack, the latter two of which are focused on the FMCG, retail and media markets and will “significantly build” on the firm’s capability in the area. 

In June the company also announced its proposed acquisition of Portuguese corrugated packaging firm Gopaca, which it said would expand its position in Iberia and complement existing operations in the region. The deal is expected to complete in the first half of DS Smith’s financial year.

Speaking after the formal AGM statement Roberts said the future pipeline of acquisitions looked good for the company.

"There’s quite a bit out there; we’re obviously very choosy," Roberts said. "All of the acquisitions we made last year are performing well and in line with our expectations and we’re very excited about the new ones this year. There is a lot of work to do, we’re pleased and we think they’ll make good returns in line with our medium-term targets." 

He added: "There is plenty of room to continue growing and developing."

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