Smurfit Kappa downplays talk of takeover

Directors said to be frustrated by rumours of €8.3bn approach from International Paper

Smurfit Kappa chief executive Gary McGann: there is continued media speculation about a potential bid from rival International Paper. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Smurfit Kappa chief executive Gary McGann: there is continued media speculation about a potential bid from rival International Paper. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

Smurfit Kappa has not received any approach from US rival International Paper, according to sources with knowledge of the matter, and the Dublin- and London-listed company’s directors are understood to be frustrated by continuing speculation in the media about a potential €8.3 billion bid.

A spokesman for the Tennessee-based pulp and paper group said it did not comment in response to “speculation and rumour”. A spokesman for Smurfit said it had no comment to make.

International Paper, which is quoted on the New York Stock Exchange, has operations in North and South America, Europe, Latin America, Russia and North Africa.

A number of media outlets have said that the group is working with corporate advisers Deutsche Bank, about a possible deal.

Smurfit Kappa, a producer of paper-based packaging with about 41,000 employees in 32 countries and sales of €7.9 billion, saw its share price rise to €29.28 on Wednesday last week, having started out at €25.87 on Monday. It fell back to €28.91 at the week’s close, as a number of analysts posited that a purchase by the US group would make sense for a number of reasons. Media reports say the US group may be exploring a bid of €36 a share.

But one Dublin analyst said there were reasons to query any such move, not least the exchange rate between the euro and the dollar, which would work against the US group taking over the Dublin-based one. This is because the profits made in Europe would be negatively affected when converted into dollars. He said the Smurfit share price was still trading at a discount of about 10 to 12 per cent against its closest peers.