DS Smith full year results, down on last year

DS Smith has released its results for the full year 2020/21. Turnover reached £5,976m, down 1% on the previous year. Profit for the period was £502m, down 24% on last year. Although the results suggest otherwise, the company was keen to point out that activity in the second half of the year were most encouraging. The company said momentum in packaging volumes seen in the second quarter continued to build throughout the remainder of the financial year resulting in second half growth of 8.2%, against the previous comparative period, which compares to -1.0% in the first half. The strong demand for packaging was accompanied by an increase in input costs, particularly in the fourth quarter of the financial year.

Miles Roberts, Group Chief Executive, commented, “The continued investment in our business, together with the strong support of our customers and the momentum built over recent quarters, give us confidence for the current year and future. While the business has seen reduced profitability over the last twelve months, we firmly believe that we exit 2020/21 stronger, further focused on the accelerated opportunities a post-COVID-19 world offers and that our customers will continue to recognise this going forward. The current year has started well, with the volume momentum of the final quarter of FY21 continuing into this year. Inflationary cost pressures have also continued, in particular OCC, but also other costs such as energy, transport and labour. Packaging prices have started to increase and we expect to fully recover these increasing costs. Accordingly, while there remains uncertainty in the overall economic environment, demand is strong and we expect to make good progress this year.”

He concludes, “Above all else, I would like to recognise the extraordinary commitment of all our 29,000 colleagues over the last 12 months. Our teams in over 300 sites have gone above and beyond what is required to keep delivering for our customers, supporting all our communities and, most of all, taking care of each other. We invested heavily to keep all of our people safe and all of factories open throughout the pandemic and this enabled us to build good momentum through the year after a challenging Q1. The growth drivers of e-commerce sustainability and plastic-free packaging have accelerated over the last twelve months and we are very well placed to capitalise on this growth. We have worked hard over many years to focus our business purely on fibre-based packaging and this differentiation is clearly recognised by our customers.”

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