Smurfit Kappa Group has reported a profit before income tax of €281m ($297.52m) in the third quarter (Q3) of 2023, down by 25% from €372m in Q3 2022.

In the trading update for the latest quarter, which ended on 30 September 2023, basic earnings per share in terms of euro cents decreased by 30% to 77.7 euro cents from 111.5 euro cents in last year’s Q3.

Operating profit before exceptional items for the reported quarter stood at €351m, a decrease of 16% from €419m in Q3 2022.

The Republic of Ireland-based packaging company’s revenue for Q3 2023 totalled €2.69bn, which shows a decline of 19% from €3.34bn registered during the same quarter last year. 

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) in Q3 2023 decreased by 14% to €512m from €593m a year ago.

In Q3 2023, EBITDA margin was 19% while the same was 17.8% in the previous year’s Q3.

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Free cash flow generated during this year’s Q3 was also down by 36% to €214m from €337m in Q3 2022.

For the first nine months of the year ending 30 September 2023, the packaging company’s profit before income tax declined by 18% to €939m while it was €1.14bn in the same period a year ago.

Smurfit’s revenue for the year-to-date period in 2023 stood at €8.53bn, down by 12% from €9.72bn reported during the first nine months of 2022.

Operating profit before exceptional items also declined by 10% to €1.12bn from €1.25bn during the first nine-month period last year.

EBITDA fell by 8% during the latest nine-month period to €1.62bn from €1.76bn previously.

Net debt in the first nine months of 2023 was €3.04bn against €3.02bn in the same period of 2022.

Smurfit Kappa Group CEO Tony Smurfit said: “We are pleased to report an excellent performance for the first nine months with EBITDA of €1.625 million, an EBITDA margin of 19.0%, a ROCE [return on capital employed] of 18.0% and a net debt to EBITDA of 1.4x.

“Box demand in the Q3 for the group was approximately 2% behind 2022 levels versus a negative 7% and 5% in the first and second quarters respectively. We expect this trend to continue, with Germany in particular showing improved order books.

“On 12 September, Smurfit Kappa and Westrock announced an agreement to combine to create Smurfit WestRock, a global leader in sustainable fibre-based packaging. For the full-year 2023 we expect to deliver EBITDA of approximately €2.050 million.”