Irish packaging group Zeus acquires two UK companies for €25m

Swanline Group and BoxMart snapped up by Irish-owned company

Irish-owned packaging group Zeus has acquired two UK companies, Swanline Group and BoxMart, in a deal worth more than €25 million.

Swanline Group is a specialist packaging company that supplies paper-based materials, print and conversion services to the packaging and point-of-sale sectors. Established in 2001, it employs more than 150 people and has four purpose-built sites housing large format infrastructure, screen and digital printing and converting operations, as well as extensive warehousing and distribution capabilities.

Sister company BoxMart offers UK-made gift, retail and ecommerce packaging, with clients that include Lush, Fever Tree and Moet Hennessy.

The deals will strengthen Zeus’s position in the retail, food and beverage, and ecommerce packaging sectors, it said. The companies have a combined revenue of €30 million per year, and will help Zeus meet its target of €500 million in annualised revenue next year.


Zeus, which currently expects revenues to reach €400 million in 2022, is aiming to be the largest sole shareholder packaging company in the world by 2023.

Zeus chief executive Keith Ockenden said it was a significant day for Zeus and its investment strategy. “Swanline Group and BoxMart bring with them long-established customer bases, in-depth knowledge about their respective sectors, and dedicated diverse teams who are committed to serving their customers. As a combined entity we have enhanced our reach and offering across the UK, with further opportunity to maximise efficiencies across our distribution and supply chains, whilst broadening our product and service offerings to our existing customers.”

This is the latest acquisition for Zeus, which bought Canadian agricultural supply business Agri-Flex last month. In the past nine months it has grown revenue by €75 million through acquisition

“Our journey over the years has provided opportunities to strengthen our capability, widen our offering and learn new disciplines,” said Brian O’Sullivan, who founded Zeus in 1998. “The addition of these businesses into our family will complement the range of solutions we provide our customers, strengthen design, creativity and innovation within packaging and introduce a depth of experience within new sectors.”

Mr O’Sullivan initially funded Zeus by selling houses he had invested in during his studies and using all of his personal savings. Since then he has led the company through significant growth, both organically and through acquisitions that have been financed by debt rather than outside investment. Mr O’Sullivan won the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2021 and will represent Ireland at the world awards in Monaco this week.

The Irish packaging company now employs more than 870 people worldwide, with customers that include ABP, Harrods, Musgrave, Ryanair and McDonald’s.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist