SMURFIT Kappa Group has reported revenue of €11.3 billion for the year ending 31 December 2023 – a 12% fall compared with 2022.
EBITDA was €2,080 million (also down 12%), with an EBITDA margin of 18.5% (2022: 18.4%.)
Free cash flow is up 15% to €628 million. Profit before income tax fell 18% to €1.055 million.
The final dividend increased by 10% to 118.4 cent per share
Group CEO Tony Smurfit said, “We are pleased to deliver an excellent outcome for the group in 2023 with full year EBITDA of €2,080 million, an EBITDA margin of 18.5% and a ROCE above our target. Our results, the second best in our 90-year history, reflect the excellence of our people and their dedication in providing the most innovative and sustainable packaging solutions for our customers.
“The results also demonstrate the continuing benefits of SKG’s multi-year and highly effective capital programmes. 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. However, one trend in which we have seen strong acceleration, is 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.
“Our performance-led culture continues to drive our industry leading performance, with our people living our values of loyalty, integrity, respect and safety at work. We have a relentless focus on quality and delivery for our customers. This, combined with an unparalleled offering across our 36 countries and our unique industry applications, gives us an unrivalled advantage.
“As mentioned above, our disciplined capital allocation programme has been a significant source of our success. During 2023 we invested over €1 billion, which together with prior years’ spend, sets a strong platform for future growth and delivery. Additionally, with the wide geographic and product diversity that exists within SKG we continue to see opportunities for growth and expansion. As an example, we are developing our Bag-in-Box business across multiple geographic regions and have expanded into Morocco with a new state-of-the-art corrugated facility.
“In SKG we have always been at the forefront of ensuring we provide the most innovative and sustainable packaging for our customers as well as setting ambitious sustainability targets for ourselves. We will shortly release our 17th Sustainable Development Report, illustrating progress towards our 2030 targets. The group continued to be recognised in 2023 for its leading sustainability credentials. Moreover in 2023, we received numerous awards across multiple categories, best illustrated by our 12 most recent WorldStar awards for innovation, significantly in excess of our peers.
“In September, we announced an agreement to combine with WestRock to form Smurfit WestRock. Since then we have had the opportunity to expand our knowledge of the WestRock organisation, and its people, and have visited many of their facilities. With a deeper understanding of the WestRock business, we are increasingly excited about the potential this combination presents.
“Our 2023 results again demonstrate Smurfit Kappa Group’s proven capacity to perform across all market conditions. While there are, and will always be, challenges in the macro environment, we look forward to the year ahead with confidence and excitement. Reflecting the continuing confidence in the strength, quality and performance of the Smurfit Kappa business, the board is recommending a 10% increase in the final dividend to 118.4 cent per share.”