Irish packaging group Smurfit Kappa has reinstated dividend payments after its profit before tax almost tripled in 2011.
The firm has announced a dividend of 15 cents per share, the first in two years.
Pre-tax profits soared year-on-year from €103m to €299m during the twelve months ended December 31st, on revenues of €7,357m compared to €6,677m the previous year.
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Chief Executive Officer Gary McGann said: "We are pleased to report earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) growth of 12% to €1,015m and pre-exceptional EPS growth of 69% to €1.00 for the full year of 2011. Our strong free cash flow generation delivered a net debt reduction of €358m to €2.75bn in 2011, which exceeded our net debt reduction target.
"Within the past 18 months, we have materially improved the financial profile and flexibility of SKG, by reducing net debt by approximately €540m, while maintaining a strong liquidity position and diverse funding sources."
The firm also announced on Wednesday that it is seeking the consent of its lenders to amend its senior credit facility agreement to extend the maturity of the deal, increasing the group's ability to raise longer-dated capital to refinance a portion of its existing senior facilities.
A "significant number" of the group's top lenders have already confirmed their support for all of the proposed amendments and maturity extension, the firm said.
The share price rose €9.94% to €7.30 by 12:50.
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