September 4, 2018 / 6:55 AM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-DS Smith upbeat on Q1 box volumes, plastics sale

(Adds details, context)

Sept 4 (Reuters) - British packaging group DS Smith Plc said on Tuesday it sold more boxes in the first quarter at higher prices, helping it to recover from a rise in the cost of paper and pulp.

The trading update from the FTSE-100 firm, which supplies corrugated cardboard, recycled paper and plastic packaging to firms including supplies to companies including Amazon.com Inc , gave no numbers on first quarter performance.

But it said that its margins had improved and that it had also made “progress” on efforts to sell its plastics business, without giving further details.

“Recovery of input cost increases from earlier in the calendar year is in line with our expectations, with the consequent positive margin impact,” said DS Smith.

The company has grown into one of the world’s leading recycled packaging producers through a series of acquisitions over the past decade and it has been reviewing its plastics business, which accounts for just 6-7 percent of turnover, as it increases its focus on production of recyclable fibre products.

It said in June it had heard interest from outside parties.

DS Smith last month raised about 1 billion pounds in capital via a rights issue to help fund its biggest-ever 2-billion-pound acquisition of Spanish rival Europac.

“Preparation for integration is continuing at pace and we look forward to welcoming Europac to the DS Smith group,” the company said, adding that it continues to expect deal completion in calendar fourth quarter this year. (Reporting by Justin George Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)

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