Smurfit Kappa chief’s pay rises 9% to €1.66m

Tony Smurfit got €285,000 bonus while former finance chief received €1.6m

Tony Smurfit, chief executive of Smurfit Kappa, saw his remuneration rise by almost 9 per cent last year to €1.66 million, driven by a jump in his basic salary in his first full year at the helm of the paper packaging group.

Mr Smurfit (53) received €1.1 million in basic salary and fees last year, up from €963,000 for 2015, when he was promoted from the role of chief operations officer to the top job that September, succeeding Gary McGann.

Mr Smurfit, who took up residency a decade ago in Monaco, also enjoyed a €285,000 bonus, €253,000 cash payment in lieu of pension contributions and €25,000 of other benefits last year.

Notes in Smurfit Kappa's annual report show that the company's former long-standing chief financial officer, Ian Curley, received a €1.63 million payment on leaving the company in March of last year. That is the equivalent of his annual salary, the highest annual bonus for the most recent three years, and regular pension contributions. He also received almost €300,000 in remuneration for the final three months of his 27-year career with the company.


Ardagh move

Mr Curley, who subsequently became chief executive of glass and metal containers manufacturer Ardagh Group last September, also availed of an option to transfer the value of money in his Smurfit Kappa pension scheme, at €4.68 million, to his own retirement fund. Almost €320,000 of shares were vested and distributed to Mr Curley, relating to performance targets for the prior three years.

Ardagh Group floated on the New York Stock Exchange earlier this month.

Smurfit Kappa reported in February that its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) rose by 5 per cent to a record €1.24 billion to outstrip a 1 per cent increase in revenue to €8.16 billion. The company also unveiled plans to increase its full year dividend by 20 per cent to 57.6 cent per share.

The group’s shares entered the FTSE 100 index in December after it transferred its primary listing to the UK from Dublin during the year.

“From a demand perspective, 2017 has started well across most areas of our business and, while recently announced paper price increases should translate with the customary time lag into higher box prices, we look forward with confidence to the coming year and beyond,” said chairman Liam O’Mahony in the company’s annual report.

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times