Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) chairman Liam O'Mahony told shareholders at the company's AGM this morning that 2011 "marked the second best year ever in the Group’s comparatively recent history".
''Significant progress was reported against almost every financial and operating measure,'' Mr O'Mahony said, citing earnings growth of 12% to just over €1bn, substantial EPS growth and an increase in EBITDA margin, he said.
He said the board is recommending a final dividend of 15 cent per share for last year and said the company plans to pay the interim and final dividends in October and May each year.
Mr O'Mahony said the group had continued to invest in the business, have reduced debt by over €800m since 2007 and last year delivered a financial performance only surpassed by that in 2007.
His comments follow Q1 results posted this morning which showed a 20% increase in operating profits to €177m and 'strong' EBITDA of €246m.
"2011 was a period of significant progress for your Group. 2012 has started well," he said.