British plastic-packaging supplier RPC Group announced its first-half adjusted pretax profit for 2011 almost doubled year-on-year, driven by improved margins and the acquisition of Danish packaging maker Superfos.

The packaging giant posted an adjusted pretax profit of £39.3m, up from £20.2m a year ago, while its net profits more than doubled to £26.3m.

Jamie Pike, RPC chairman, said the integration of the Superfos business has been progressing well and synergies are anticipated to be £9m for the year ending March 2012.

"Whilst macro-economic uncertainties have increased, the group has made significant progress towards achieving its stated aim of a 20% return on capital employed by March 2014," Pike said.

For the six months ending on 30 September, the company’s revenue rose 53% to £586.7m compared to £381.9m in the same period a year ago, while its like-for-like revenue increased by 11%.

The injection moulding segment reported revenue of £342.3 compared to £163.6m last year, while its thermoforming segment recorded revenue of £150.8m against £136.6m in 2010.

RPC, which completed the Superfos acquisition in December last year, said polymer markets stabilised in the first half, with the raw material prices falling from June, resulting in improved margins for most product groups.

The firm’s restructuring costs of £4.1m were largely related to the closure of Superfos’ Runcorn site, as well as other integration expenditure.

The company observed increased activity in long shelf-life products, pharmaceuticals and coffee capsules during the period, which compensated for lower levels in paint containers, industrial products and vending cups.

RPC, whose customers include Unilever, Kraft Foods and Nestle, forecasted that polymer prices in the third quarter of the financial year would be relatively stable, with upward movement possible in the fourth quarter.


Caption: RPC Group’s first-half adjusted pretax profit for 2011 almost doubled due to its acquisition of Danish packaging maker Superfos.