January 2016: Tony Smurfit, CEO, Smurfit Kappa Group

Business Person of the Month | Wed 20 Jan | Author – Business & Finance Tony Smurfit

Under the direction of Tony Smurfit, Smurfit Kappa Group continues to expand its presence across global markets.

At the latter half of 2015, it was announced that Tony Smurfit would succeed Gary McGann as Group CEO. Speaking at the time, Liam O’Mahony, chairman, Smurfit Kappa, thanked Gary McGann for his substantial contribution in leading the Group over the last 13 years, and said: “The Board looks forward to the Group’s next phase of growth and development under Tony’s leadership.”

Since Tony Smurfit’s appointment, Smurfit Kappa Group has continued to perform strongly and most recently added to its global portfolio of manufacturing operations with the acquisition of two Brazilian packaging businesses for €186m.

Both Brazilian companies – INPA and Paema – are privately owned integrated packaging businesses. The combined operations have three recycled containerboard mills with a total capacity of 210,000 tonnes and four corrugated facilities servicing the northeast of Brazil, through the Rio and Sao Paulo regions and the south of the country. The net assets of INPA and Paema by September 30th, 2015 were €30m and €6m respectively.

GLOBAL POSITION

The size and location of the combined operations will build on the Group’s position as the largest pan-regional corrugated packaging supplier in Latin America. The combined business employs over 1,700 people and the Group expects to generate synergies of approximately €6m by the end of 2017, primarily through operational improvements and supply chain optimisation as the businesses are integrated.

The transaction was completed at the end of December 2015 and will be immediately earnings accretive. The consideration was funded from the Group’s existing liquidity, comprising primarily cash resources together with the existing committed credit facilities.

STRENGTH AND STRATEGY

Speaking about the acquisition of INPA and Paema, Tony Smurfit said it would extend the reach of Smurfit Kappa Group into a “strategically important market”, and would build on the Group’s “geographic diversity and strength”.

He added: “We look forward to welcoming the experienced teams into the Smurfit Kappa Group. We are confident that their expertise and the high quality of their asset base will provide us with a strong entry point into the Brazilian market and, as the leading pan-regional operator in Latin America, further strengthen our service offering to our existing international customers.”

Tony Smurfit has worked in several roles within the Group in Europe and the US since joining over 20 years ago. He played an instrumental role guiding through a merger with Kappa Packaging in 2005, creating a worldwide packaging giant with Gary McGann as CEO which then floated on the Dublin and London Stock Exchange in 2007.

As CEO, Smurfit will now lead the world’s leading paper-based packaging companies which employs more than 43,000 employees on 350 production sites in 33 countries in Europe and the Americas; and with an annual revenue of €8.1bn, through the next stage of its global expansion.

CV highlights

  • Tony Smurfit was appointed Group chief executive of Smurfit Kappa in August 2015
  • Previously, he worked in several roles within the group in Europe and the US since joining over 20 years ago
  • He served as chief operations officer between 2002 and 2015, and chief executive of Smurfit Europe between 1999 and 2002
  • He is also a non-executive director of C&C Group
  • He then guided through a merger with Kappa Packaging in 2005, creating a worldwide packaging giant
  • Smurfit played an instrumental role when the Group was floated on the Dublin and London Stock Exchanges in 2007