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Online shopping surge boost cardboard box maker Smurfit Kappa

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August Graham, PA City Reporter
·2-min read
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The price of cardboard packaging has shot up in recent months as people turned to online shopping, boosting box makers like Smurfit Kappa, the company announced.

Millions of boxes are being shipped each week, bringing everything from food to games and electronics to front doors around the world.

It is a boom which benefits not only online retailers – Amazon’s profit trebled in the first months of 2021 – but also those who supply them.

“The first quarter was remarkable in many ways. We had strong corrugated volume growth in practically every area and all markets in which we operate,” said Smurfit Kappa chief executive Tony Smurfit.

Underlying revenue jumped 6% to 2.3 billion euro (£2 billion) at the Dublin-based company which is listed on London’s FTSE 100 index.

Mr Smurfit said that paper prices have risen sharply because of “unprecedented” supply shortages across the industry, and so-called input costs – the cost of producing the packaging, including materials.

“We are recovering these input costs in line with our expectations,” he said.

“Against this backdrop, I am very proud of our team who have continued to deliver in these exceptional times, ensuring security of supply to our customers while also continuing to support them through our approach to innovation and our sustainable packaging products.”

The company said that the amount of corrugated packaging it sold in the first three months of the year rose by 7% in both Europe and the Americas.

The reason, Mr Smurfit said, was its exposure to high-growth markets, sectors and channels, including e-commerce.

The news sent Smurfit to the top of the FTSE 100, with shares rising 4.2% across the day and helping to pull the index into positive territory.

The business employs around 46,000 people at more than 350 sites in 35 countries in Europe and the Americas and made 8.5 billion euro (£7.4 billion) in revenue last year.