August 20, 2012 / 10:51 PM / in 5 years

Australia's Amcor year profit up 11 pct

MELBOURNE, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Australian packaging group Amcor Ltd reported an 11.3 percent rise in full-year profit on Tuesday, boosted by its Alcan and Ball acquisitions, and said it expected sales to be resilient in the coming year.

Amcor said its flexible packaging business, including tobacco packaging, had a 16.9 percent rise in earnings and should achieve a “solid” increase in earnings in the current fiscal year.

The rigid plastics, mainly drinks bottles, had a 13.4 percent rise in earnings, helped by the Ball acquisition, and earnings are forecast to be “moderately higher” in fiscal 2013.

“In the current year, it is expected that volumes will again be resilient and that the benefits of recent acquisitions, growth in emerging markets, cost reduction initiatives and continued strong cash focus will combine to deliver another year of higher earnings,” Amcor said.

Net profit before one-offs rose to A$634.9 million ($663 million) for the year to June 2012 from A$570 million a year earlier. The result was above an average forecast of A$614 million from 12 analysts.

Most of the company’s growth over the past two years has come from the benefits it has captured from wrapping in the Alcan and Ball businesses it bought two years ago.

Underlying demand has been subdued, raw materials costs have risen, and a strong Australian dollar has hit profit translation.

Shares in Amcor, seen as defensive for its links with staples such as food, pharmaceuticals and soft drinks, have risen 6.5 percent this year, against a 7.5 percent rise in the broader market.

Reporting by Victoria Thieberger; Editing by Leslie Adler

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