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Smurfit Kappa will assess takeover offers 'as they come', insists CEO

DUBLIN (From news reports) -- Smurfit Kappa is in "great shape" and will "go through the process" if it receives any fresh takeover approach, CEO Tony Smurfit has told the Irish Independent.

Last year, Smurfit Kappa rejected a takeover approach from Memphis-based International Paper that would have valued the Irish company at about €9bn.

Under takeover rules, International Paper is free to make another approach for Smurfit Kappa from next month.

Some analysts have previously predicted that a second approach for Smurfit Kappa from International Paper, or an offer from a different party, could be likely.

"You have to take these things as they come," said Mr Smurfit speaking after the group's annual general meeting in Dublin.

"At the end of the day, we're running our business for the now and running our business delivering on what we said we would deliver on, and even more," he said.

"The company is in great shape. If anything happens, we'll wait and see what happens.

"The board will take its advice from advisers and go through the process if it happens again," said Mr Smurfit.

The group spent €18m fending off the approach from International Paper last year.

Smurfit Kappa's shares have declined 25pc since International Paper retreated from making an offer, giving it a market capitalisation of €6.5bn.

International Paper's shares have dropped about 20pc in the same period, giving it a market capitalisation of $18.6bn (€16.6bn).

That decline is despite a $2bn share buyback that International Paper is almost halfway through.

"We'd love our share price to be higher," said Mr Smurfit. "It's a conundrum for us, but it's not a function of Smurfit Kappa - all share prices are down in our sector. Our job as management is to deliver earnings like what we've delivered today and last year and, hopefully, going forward.

"If we deliver those, eventually it'll be reflected in the share price.

"You can see the multiple contraction in our sector. Some day that multiple is going to grow again."

Smurfit Kappa said its first quarter earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose 25pc to €424m, while its revenue was 7pc higher at €2.31bn.

Mr Smurfit paid tribute to Liam O'Mahony, who stepped down as chairman after a decade in the role.

Mr Smurfit said that Mr O'Mahony, a former CEO of CRH, had in the midst of a global financial crisis provided stability "in spades".

Mr Smurfit said Mr O'Mahony's "deep industrial knowledge" and "steely resolve" had been a strong asset.

Mr O'Mahony has been succeeded by Irial Finan.

********** has taken off like a rocket! Over fifty jobs are posted, in many interesting categories. These jobs are in at least ten different US states. [06.19.19]


Employers are on board with There are nearly thirty employers located in fifteen different US states and two other countries. [06.19.19]

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