Packaging group Orora has experienced a topsy turvy first half of the year with sales and profits moving in opposite directions.
Net profits after tax were down 13.3 per cent to $76.6 million on sales that rose 13.3 per cent to $1.8 billion.
The manufacturer of glass, cans and fibre packaging experienced subdued economic conditions across its operations.
Managing director Brian Lowe said Australian results were positive but difficult trading conditions continued in North America and brought lower earnings.
Lowe said: “(In North America) in response a comprehensive improvement programme has been implemented in Orora Packaging Solutions to drive efficiency, volume and margin growth and reset the cost base to align with prevailing market conditions
“These initiatives are showing early positive signs.”
During the six months Orora invested $60 million in its facilities including a new digital proofing printer in its Australian cans division.
The company also completed a $35 million upgrade of its Gawler glass bottle plant which supplies the booming bottled wine sector in South Australia.
Preliminary work was done on a planned rebuild of its G2 glass melting furnace at Gawler.
In October Orora agreed to sell its fibre packaging businesses to Nippon Paper Industries for $1.7 billion, with the sale followed by a return of capital to shareholders.
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