Ken Bowles: ‘For years, investors have been asking us if we planned to make any moves in North America. This is the move’

The chief financial officer of Smurfit Kappa explains the philosophy behind the firm’s merger with WestRock

Ken Bowles of Smurfit Kappa: ‘Unless we wanted that to happen again, two things had to change’. Picture: Fergal Phillips

In June 2018, International Paper (IP), the largest paper and packaging group in the world, walked away from a €9 billion takeover bid for Smurfit Kappa, the Irish packaging company.

After two formal offers were rejected and the board refused to enter talks with its unwanted suitor, IP gave up, citing the “lack of engagement”.

For Ken Bowles, the chief financial officer of Smurfit Kappa, the takeover bid was more fruitful for the Irish company ...