Global packaging company Smurfit Kappa Group plc has unveiled its results for the full year ending 31st December 2023, reporting earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of €2,080 million.

Revenue for the full year was €11,272 million, down 12% on the year prior on a reported basis and down 11% on an underlying basis.

The company reported EBITDA for the full year of €2,080 million, 12% lower than 2022, but its EBITDA margin for the year was 18.5% up from 18.4% in 2022. In Europe, EBITDA decreased by 14% to €1,593 million in 2023, and the EBITDA margin was 18.8%, up from 18.6% in 2022.

Operating profit before exceptional items was said to be €1,403 million, 16% lower than the €1,662 million in 2022. Smurfit Kappa said that its free cash flow for 2023 was €628 million, compared to €545 million for 2022, an increase of €83 million.

Tony Smurfit, CEO of the Group, said: “We are pleased to deliver an excellent outcome for the Group in 2023 with full year EBITDA of €2,080 million, an EBITDA margin of 18.5% and a ROCE (return on capital employed) above our target.

“Our results, the second best in our 90 year history, reflect the excellence of our people and their dedication in providing the most innovative and sustainable packaging solutions for our customers. The results also demonstrate the continuing benefits of SKG’s multi-year and highly effective capital programmes.

“The demand environment for the industry in 2023 was difficult primarily due to destocking and a lack of economic activity in certain sectors, particularly durable goods. However, one trend in which we have seen strong acceleration, is an increasing demand for sustainable packaging solutions. While full year volumes for the Group were down 3.5%, we saw a progressive improvement in demand during the year, with a return to growth in the fourth quarter.

Smurfit concluded: “While there are, and will always be, challenges in the macro environment, we look forward to the year ahead with confidence and excitement. Reflecting the continuing confidence in the strength, quality and performance of the Smurfit Kappa business, the Board is recommending a 10% increase in the final dividend to 118.4 cent per share.”