DS Smith Plc, today issues a trading update in respect of the period since 1 May 2022.
Strong growth in profits and returns underpinned by excellent customer relationships, continued price recovery and good cost and cash management
- Overall trading in line with our expectations driven by pricing momentum and good cost control.
- Corrugated box volumes in Q1 declined slightly on a like for like basis, as expected and against growth in the comparative quarter of 13%; we continue to expect growth of at least 2% for the full year.
- Virtually all input costs, including energy, have increased significantly.
- Energy cost increases substantially mitigated by efficiency initiatives and by long–term hedging programme.
- Currently more than 90% natural gas costs hedged for FY23 and c.80% for FY24 with costs being recovered through increased packaging pricing.
- Long term supplier relationships and other cost management programmes ongoing to mitigate inflation.
- Continuing strong operating cashflow generation.
- Our outlook for FY23 remains unchanged with an expectation of a significant improvement in performance.
Miles Roberts, Group Chief Executive, said: “We have started the financial year very strongly, despite the current macro–economic conditions. We are focusing on ensuring the highest levels of security of supply and customer service and are very pleased with the ongoing support we receive from both our customer and supplier base. Whilst the industrial sector is showing some weakness, our FMCG business remains resilient. The increased profitability and cash generation is being driven by improving efficiency and cost increase mitigation as well as successfully continuing to raise packaging prices. Overall returns on capital remain within our medium term target. As we enter the second quarter, we are very mindful of the challenging economic environment in which we operate and the impact it has on both our customers and colleagues. However, our operating plans and progress to date continue to give us confidence in our outlook for FY23.”