9 November 2011
Smurfit Kappa Group today announced results for the 3 months and 9 months ending 30 September 2011.
Strong EBITDA of €264 million in Q3. Pre-exceptional EPS of 22 cent
Net debt reduction of €82 million in Q3. Total net debt reduction of €189 million in year-to-date
Net debt to EBITDA ratio reduced to 2.8x
Re-affirming year-end net debt target of €2.85 billion
Performance Review and Outlook
Gary McGann, Smurfit Kappa Group CEO, commented: “We are pleased to report a strong EBITDA of €264 million for the third quarter. As expected, our free cash flow generation accelerated in the quarter, delivering further net debt reduction of €82 million in the period, or €189 million in the year-to-date. Lower net debt, combined with continued earnings progress, reduced our net debt to EBITDA ratio to 2.8x at the end of September 2011.
In the third quarter, box demand continued to grow, albeit at a slower pace than in the first half, and higher inventory levels generated some downward pressure on paper prices in Europe. Against that backdrop, our EBITDA margin of 14.1% primarily highlights the increasing efficiency of our integrated model, continued box price recovery, and a sustained strong performance in our Latin American business. Return on capital employed was 12.5% for the third quarter, compared to 8.5% in the prior year.
Over the past four years, we have strengthened our business platform through significant debt paydown and unrelenting cost reduction actions, which will sustain the delivery of strong cash flows and improving returns through the cycle. We are committed to continue building our strong market credentials in the areas of packaging innovation, customer service and sustainability.
In that context, despite softening demand, we expect to deliver a full-year 2011 EBITDA performance in line with current market expectations, and re-affirm our target to reduce net debt to €2.85 billion by the year end.”
Q3 & First Nine Months Results 2011