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DS Smith H1 Pretax Profit Declines; Revenue Up 14% On Constant Currency Basis

DS Smith plc (SMDS.L) reported profit before tax of 144 million pounds for the half year ended 31 October 2017 compared to 146 million pounds, last year. Profit after tax for continuing operations was 107 million pounds compared to 115 million pounds. Earnings per share was 10.5 pence compared to 12.2 pence. Adjusted profit before tax increased to 184 million pounds from 167 million pounds, prior year. Adjusted earnings per share was 17.3 pence compared to 16.3 pence.

Group revenue for the half year to 31 October 2017 increased by 19% to 2.80 billion pounds from 2.36 billion pounds, previous year, reflecting acquisitions, volume and sales price growth, and a significant positive currency translation effect. On a constant currency basis, revenue increased by 14%. Organic corrugated box volumes were up 5.2%.

Miles Roberts, Group Chief Executive, said: "We are delighted with our volume growth which has significantly accelerated to over 5%, fuelled by success with e-commerce and pan-European customers. Structural shifts, including changes in consumer preferences, the increased relevance of our packaging at point-of-sale, and the rise in e-commerce are all underpinning the growth of packaging. The strong customer demand has driven performance and our operating margin is in line with our expectations, despite the substantial input cost pressures in the period, which we continue to recover as planned."

The Board declared an interim dividend for the half year of 4.9 pence per share, an increase of 7%. The dividend will be paid on 1 May 2018 to ordinary shareholders on the register at the close of business on 6 April 2018.

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