(Alliance News) - Smurfit Kappa Group PLC on Wednesday reported a drop in adjusted earnings and revenue in 2023 but said the figures were ahead of its target.

The Dublin-based packaging company reported revenue in the 12 months to December 31 fell 12% to EUR11.27 billion from EUR12.82 billion the year prior, with pretax profit down 18% to EUR1.06 billion from EUR1.29 billion. Basic earnings per share declined 20% to 293.5 euro cents from 365.3 cents.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation fell 12% to EUR2.08 billion from EUR2.36 billion while the return on capital employed dipped to 17.1% from 21.8%.

Chief Executive Tony Smurfit said the results were "the second best in our 90 year history," with Ebitda and ROCE "above our target."

He said the performance reflected the continuing benefits of the company's "multi-year and highly effective capital programmes."

Smurfit said the demand environment for the industry in 2023 was difficult primarily due to destocking and a lack of economic activity in certain sectors, particularly durable goods.

But he highlighted one trend which has seen strong acceleration - an increasing demand for sustainable packaging solutions.

"While full year volumes for the group were down 3.5%, we saw a progressive improvement in demand during the year, with a return to growth in the fourth quarter," he pointed out.

The dividend was boosted 10% to 118.4 euro cents.

Shares in Smurfit Kappa rose 5.4% to 3,024 pence each in London on Wednesday morning.

By Jeremy Cutler, Alliance News reporter

Comments and questions to newsroom@alliancenews.com

Copyright 2024 Alliance News Ltd. All Rights Reserved.