(Recasts, adds quote, shares, capex)
By Nqobile Dludla
JOHANNESBURG May 11 The new chief executive of
packaging and paper company Mondi Group is committed to
maintaining its expansion strategy, he said on Thursday after
the group reported a drop in quarterly profit.
The South African company completed four acquisitions last
year under outgoing CEO David Hathorn, expanding its fibre and
consumer packaging operations deeper into Poland, Turkey and
Russia, and new chief Peter Oswald says more deals are in the
"I see a lot of continuity," said Oswald, who officially
took the helm on Thursday. "It's about continuing the journey,
making acquisitions at reasonable prices and driving our
Oswald, who previously ran the company's Europe and
international division, said that Mondi had identified a number
of acquisitions in the short-term to boost the packaging
businesses, without giving further details.
Mondi, which is also listed in London, has spent
about 1.6 billion euros in acquisitions over the past four years
and is aiming for 2017 capital expenditure between 600 million
euros and 650 million euros.
Shares in the company, however, fell 2.4 percent to 344.78
rand after it posted first-quarter underlying operating profit
down 6 percent year on year at 252 million euros ($273.8
million) and said that planned maintenance will wipe about 80
million euros from 2017 operating profit.
The company said results were hit by lower gains on the
value of forestry assets, a stronger rand and cost and pricing
"Strong sales volume growth was more than offset by a
significantly lower forestry fair value gain, inflationary cost
pressures and lower average selling prices," it said.
($1 = 0.9203 euros)
(Editing by David Goodman)