Smurfit Kappa's nine-months earnings rose slightly on almost unchanged sales due to cost control and lower fibre costs.
SKG's group CEO Gary McGann said the company's performance reflects the strength of its integrated model and the benefits of its operating efficiency in a generally soft macroeconomic environment. Group sales for the first nine months were down marginally year on year to €5.51bn (2011: €5.54bn). Net profit for the period rose to €197m (€123m), while operating profit increased to €514m (€441m). Third quarter operating profit (€181m) also went up both on Q3 2011 (€162m) and Q2 2012 (€156m).
European box volumes for the year to date remained broadly unchanged over the same period in 2011 and continue to show resilience, SKG explained. Sheet sales thus were down 8% in the third quarter, also impacting total corrugated volumes which remain 2% lower than in 2011. Corrugated pricing for the third quarter remained flat against the background of stabilising recovered fibre costs and rising paper prices. The group said that it implemented a €50 per tonne price increase for brown kraftliner while a partial implementation of the announced increase for recycled containerboard also eased cost pressure.
Smurfit Kappa saw recovered paper prices stabilising in the third quarter, with August and September prices remaining flat month on month and October showing some evidence of upward momentum.
Latin American margins contributed strongly to the overall performance of the group, SKG said.
Despite macroeconomic pressure the group expects full year EBITDA in line with what was achieved last year.
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