Packaging producer Smurfit passes on higher input costs to boost earnings By Reuters

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DUBLIN (Reuters) – Smurfit Kappa offset significant input cost pressures by increasing its prices in the first half of the year and will continue to do so, Europe’s largest paper packaging producer said as its earnings rose 6%.

Exceptional demand for packaging used in e-commerce at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic helped limit the damage from disruption elsewhere for the Irish group, whose core earnings fell 9% during 2020.

First-half earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) of 781 million euros ($922.2 million)were up on 735 million euros in the same, partly pandemic-disrupted period a year ago but down on the record 847 million reported in the first six months of 2019.

The group, whose customers include Procter & Gamble (NYSE:), Unilever (NYSE:) and Nestle, said it continued to see strong demand for its core products and has for the most part been able to fulfil its customers’ needs.

The trend of passing on higher input costs to customers has also continued in the second half, Smurfit said.

A slew of major companies reeling from the impact of the high prices of raw materials, increased labour expenses and supply-chain woes are raising product prices as demand for several goods rebound with a reopening of economies.

Smurfit said it planned to accelerate investment plans to meet customer needs and capitalise on significant growth opportunities.

It also announced the acquisition of a 600,000 tonne capacity recycled containerboard mill in Northern Italy, following on from recent similar deals in Peru and Mexico.

($1 = 0.8469 euros)

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