Smurfit Kappa Group achieved a solid performance in the 2020 business year, thanks in part to a strong fourth quarter. While CEO Tony Smurfit described 2020 as «the most challenging year in recent memory» due to the coronavirus pandemic, and especially tough in the second quarter, rising demand in the second half of the year coupled with cost savings helped the company overcome these challenges.
SKG was able to improve its bottom line compared with 2019 and was satisfied overall with its performance in the reporting year. While operating profit rose only slightly, from EUR 884 million in 2019 to EUR 891 million in 2020, net profit increased by 13 per cent to EUR 547 million.
It should be noted, though, that the company faced significant lower one-off costs in the reporting year. SKG booked exceptional charges of EUR 31 million in 2020, as opposed to charges of EUR 178 million in the prior-year period. The exceptional items in 2019 included a fine of EUR 124 million the company had to pay in Italy relating to anti-competitive practices. Excluding those items, SKG’s operating profit for the full year was 13 per cent lower than in 2019 at EUR 922 million.