DS Smith seals £450m sale of plastics division


Box maker DS Smith has agreed to sell its plastics division in a deal worth 585 million US dollars (£450 million) as it looks to cut debt and refocus on sustainable packaging.

The FTSE 100-listed group said it is set to make £400 million in net proceeds from the sale to private equity firm Olympus Partners.

Shares in DS Smith lifted 3% after the announcement.

DS Smith said in December it was looking at options for its plastics division, including a potential sale.

Miles Roberts, group chief executive of DS Smith, said: “The transaction is attractive both financially and strategically for DS Smith as, together with the acquisition of Europac, we reinforce our position as a leader in sustainable packaging with a clear focus on our fibre-based business.”

The sale follows the completion of its acquisition of Spanish rival Europac in January.

DS Smith added around 2,300 staff from Europac to its existing workforce of about 28,500 across 37 countries.

In a trading update released alongside the deal, DS Smith – which is a supplier to Amazon – said the Christmas season was “especially busy” for its online-focused clients.

It added that trading had been strong and in line with its expectations since November.

Mr Roberts said while “macroeconomic conditions remain uncertain” it is confident of ongoing demand.

Its recent Europac deal was hailed by the group as a move to strengthen its global supply chain and provide an “exceptional” opportunity to scale the business.

The firm has bought a number of firms in recent years, including the Corrugated Container Corporation in the US last year and Interstate Resources, also in America, in 2017.