Business Person of the Month March 2018: Tony Smurfit

Business Person of the Month | Tue 27 Mar | Author – Business & Finance
Tony Smurfit
Pictured: Tony Smurfit, Group CEO, Smurfit Kappa Group.

Standing firm in the face of takeover bids, with a firm belief in his company’s value, Tony Smurfit is Business Person of the Month for March 2018.

“It’s a very interesting time,” says March Business Person of the Month, Tony Smurfit. At the time of writing, Tony, and his board at Smurfit Kappa Group, have already examined and rejected two approaches from International Paper Company to take over the company.

“I’m very proud to run such a company with 46,000 people, it gives you a great degree of satisfaction,” says Tony. “My first duty is towards creating shareholder value and that is what we have done.”

A staunch believer in maximising shareholder value, Smurfit’s rejections stem from more than wanting to keep his family name over the door of this publicly quoted company – his strong results and ambitious plans have nurtured a business which he believes is worth more than the value of €37.54 for each Smurfit Kappa share offered at the latest bid, and far in excess of the first offer of €36.46 on the 6 March.

An independent company that will continue to deliver great shareholder value

“We run the company for our shareholders, as you have to do, and we received this opportunistic approach which we believe undervalues the company, so we rejected it on the basis that the company continues to perform and there is a strong belief that the company has a strong future as an independent company that will continue to deliver great shareholder value,” Tony says.

Whether or not International Paper come back with another offer – perhaps it could be third time lucky for them – Tony isn’t sitting back waiting for their call. Smurfit Kappa Group continue to look for their own acquisitions, and have set out their own multi-billion medium-term investment plans.

A medium-term plan for investing €2.9 billion over the next four to five years

“We’re always looking at acquisitions – we did around €50 million on acquisitions last year. We would be looking to do more this year, we are working on a number and we just put out a medium-term plan for investing €2.9 billion over the next four to five years, he concludes. “We have very ambitious plans internally to take the business forward in a very positive manner.”

Business & Finance Business Person of the Month

Business Person the MonthBusiness & Finance, in association with KPMG, recognises excellence in business through the ‘Business Person of the Month’ award. This award seeks to recognise noteworthy achievements in business leadership, and particularly those that make a telling contribution to the wider business community in Ireland.