Smurfit must tackle WestRock costs, not just paper over the cracks

Investor sentiment towards the packaging industry has waned, but if the Irish company can wrap up the merger with its American rival, they’ll come flocking back

Tony Smurfit, chief executive of Smurfit Kappa: said the paper packaging industry was ‘unloved’ by investors. Picture: Bloomberg

Tony Smurfit, the chief executive of Smurfit Kappa, said last week that the paper packaging industry was an “unloved sector” by investors. He’s not wrong.

Investor sentiment towards the industry has waned significantly over the past 18 months after the e-commerce boom driven by the pandemic began to dissipate.

Shares in Smurfit Kappa are down more than 30 per cent from their peak last year, while the share prices of many of its main rivals ...