- Packaging company DS Smith reported first-half performance remained in line with its expectations as 'very positive' box volume growth, and price hikes more than offset rising input costs.

For the half year ending 31 October 2021, the fast moving consumer goods sector, accounting for well over 80% of the company's volume, had been 'particularly strong, with continuing gains with large multinational customers,' the company said.

E-commerce had continued to grow despite the 're-opening of the high street,' it added.

Input cost increases combined with high demand have led to 'significant' paper price rises, the company said.

The net debt over EBITDA ratio was expected to be in line with company's medium-term target of approximately 2.0x at 31 October 2021.

Progress on construction of additional packaging manufacturing sites in Italy and Poland remained on track with the company's original plans with operations due to start in Q4 of this financial year.

'Customer reaction to these new state of the art facilities has been excellent with more than 50% of their capacity already pre-sold,' it added.

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