- Packaging company DS Smith said it expected its first-half operating profit to be materially ahead of the previous year's result as it continued to raise prices to recoup increased input costs.

The regulatory process for the proposed acquisition of Europac continued to track in line with the company's expectations, with completion of the deal expected by the end of the calendar year.

'The business continues to perform in line with our expectations, with the industry and business trends consistent with our trading update of 4 September 2018,' DS Smith said.

'We expect return on sales and adjusted operating profit in the half-year to be materially ahead of the comparable period following recovery of increased input costs earlier in the year and good volume growth from our highly resilient FMCG [fast-moving consumer goods] focussed business.'

'The integration of Interstate Resources continues to go very well, with major customers now procuring from us in both Europe and the US.'

Chief executive Miles Roberts said margin development was a particularly pleasing feature of the company's first-half performance.

'We continue to see strong customer support to our innovative sustainable packaging, responding to the dynamic requirements of our customers,' Roberts said.

'We expect good ongoing volume and market share growth, look forward to the completion of Europac and view the future with confidence.'

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