Smurfit Kappa chief executive Tony Smurfit has said that the year 2021 was "characterised by significant and unprecedented cost inflation", as the business reported a 18% increase in full-year revenue.
Noting that high costs, particularly in energy, recovered fibre and other categories of raw materials remain at "elevated levels", Smurfit added that the packaging firm expects to recover these costs, with margin improvement, as 2022 progresses.
For the year to 31 December 2021, Smurfit Kappa reported a 13% increase in EBITDA, to €1.7 billion, with an EBITDA margin of 16.8%.
'Strength Of Integrated Model'
"This performance demonstrates the strength of the integrated model, the quality of our business, our operational efficiency and increasing geographic and product diversity," said Smurfit.
"Over the last number of years, the group has made significant investments enabling us to meet our customers’ need for resilience, ensuring they have security of supply and access to the most innovative, sustainable packaging solutions."
Its European and Americas businesses delivered 'excellent performances' during the year, the company said, with Europe reporting EBITDA of €1.3 billion, and Americas reporting EBITDA of €441 million.
In October, the group completed the acquisition of a recycled containerboard mill in Italy, with a capacity of 600,000 tonnes, which the company said adds a 'security of supply' to its customers.
In addition, it recently made acquisitions in Mexico and Peru and undertook a facility upgrade in Colombia, growing its Americas footprint, while it has also sought to bolster its sustainability credentials with the launch of a Green Finance Framework last September.
Looking ahead, Smurfit Kappa said that current trading is 'strong', with the business continuing to see 'significant opportunities' across its geographic footprint.
"I am proud of how Smurfit Kappa continues to deliver across all performance measures and reflecting that confidence and the ever increasing strength of and prospects for the business, the board is recommending a 10% increase in the final dividend to 96.1 cent per share," Smurfit added.