Full year revenue was essentially flat compared to 2014, with sales at €8,109 million. Fourth quarter revenue was €2,089 million, a decrease of 1%. Full year EBITDA before exceptional items and share-based payment was €1,182 million, a 2% from 2014. The full-year EBITDA margin was 14.6%. Operating profit before exceptional Items was €780 million, up 1% from 2014, and free cash flow rose 7% to $388 million.
Full year Group packaging volume growth was 6% with underlying growth of 3% excluding acquisitions. The company completed more than €380 million of acquisitions in 2015.
“We are pleased to report a strong 2015 outcome delivering significant improvement across all key financial and operating metrics,” said Tony Smurfit, Smurfit Kappa CEO. “We will continue to drive our performance by focusing on marketing and innovation initiatives for our customers, cost efficiency and financial discipline. Our objective is to continue to deliver on our target of 15% ROCE through the cycle.
“We invested over €380 million in acquisitions in 2015 to strengthen and diversify our geographic reach and drive earnings,” Smurfit said. “During the year we invested €450 million to optimize the asset quality in our system and our investments in high return capital investment projects are now also delivering incremental EBITDA growth.
“Our strong financial profile is reflected in our net debt to EBITDA ratio of 2.4 times at the end of 2015, after adjusting for the Brazilian acquisitions in December. We remain firmly committed to maintaining our Ba1 / BB+ credit rating,” he added.
“Having established a strong platform for growth over the past few years, we expect to deliver good earnings growth in 2016. While this will, to some extent, be influenced by the broader macro-economic environment, we are confident our current investment initiatives, our geographic diversity, our integrated business model and our strong free cash flow generation positions us well for 2016 and beyond.”