IPL Plastics earnings rise in first quarter despite revenue dip

Prospects for business positive despite Covid-19 impact on product revenues in March

Alan Walsh, chief executive of IPL Plastics: ‘We have had to adapt’

Alan Walsh, chief executive of IPL Plastics: ‘We have had to adapt’


Plastics manufacturer IPL said earnings in the first quarter rose 10 per cent to $19.1 million (€17.7 million) despite a dip in revenue.

The company said the increase was down to improved margins across its business and, despite the impact of the coronavirus shutdowns, prospects for the business were positive.

Overall revenue fell by 0.5 per cent to $141.1 million in the first quarter of the year, with revenue in its large format packaging and environmental solutions divisions falling to $63 million from the previous level of $74.2 million. The returnable packaging solutions division also saw a decline from $16.6 million to $15.7 million. That was partially offset by a rise in revenue in the consumer packaging solutions division, which increased from $45.3 million to $58.3 million.

Net income for the quarter was $1.9 million, up $800,000 year-on-year. IPL also increased its net debt to $315.1 million from the previous level of $297.4 million, attributed to borrowings to fund an acquisition in the UK and for seasonal increases in working capital.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) margins rose to 13.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2020 from 12.2 per cent in the same period a year earlier.

Early stages

The company said overall revenues for the quarter were not significantly adversely impacted by Covid-19 as the spread of the virus was only in its early stages in Europe and North America.

However, revenues for certain products had fallen during March 2020, particularly food service pails in North America.

“Like most other businesses, Covid-19 has forced IPL to face unprecedented challenges,” said chief executive Alan Walsh. “We have had to adapt, implementing a range of measures that allowed us to keep each of our 14 facilities around the world operational. The diversity of our product range, and end markets served, has acted as a natural hedge against a more significant fall-off in demand experienced by many businesses as a result of the impact of Covid-19 and associated containment measures.”

Mr Walsh said the future of the market was uncertain, but the company was well positioned to take advantage of growth opportunities.