Smurfit Kappa's profits grow, while Irish Life's shrink

Both companies are offering positive outlooks

Packaging Group, Smurfit Kappa has recorded a 31% increase in pre-tax profits for the first quarter of the year to €128m on the back of a 2% increase in turnover to €2bn.

It reports that demand has remained strong across all markets.

The company's bottom line has been affected by currency fluctuations which resulted in its EBITDA taking a hit of almost €10m.

Smurfit Kappa spent over €380m on acquisitions last year - this year it will focus on integrating these businesses while the group retains the capacity to invest in further acquisitions.

Irish Life

First quarter profits have fallen at Irish Life, the country’s largest investment and pensions company.

It contributed €37.5m in first quarter profits to its parent, the Canadian group, Great West Life Co, down from a contribution of €57m at the same stage last year.

Irish Life has taken control of Aviva Health, and full ownership of Glo Health since July 2013, the company hopes to become a major player in the health insurance market.

Incoming chief executive David Harney commented on these plans, "We are awaiting approval from the European and Irish regulatory authorities and in the meantime continuing with researching and developing brand and product options for the new entity."