Smurfit Kappa Group CEO Tony Smurfit said that the combination of Smurfit Kappa and WestRock is a promising and complementary deal.
The two companies signed a definitive agreement to combine in what would create a $34 billion company with 23 million tons of mill capacity and 500 converting plants focused on containerboard, as well as a large consumer packaging business. The combined companies would be the largest containerboard and boxmaking company in the world.
If the deal is finalized, the new combined company is to be called Smurfit WestRock.
“(This) combination has a lot of merit,” said Smurfit from Ireland on Sept. 12.
“It’s a great responsibility to lead a company like this,” Smurfit said, assuming the deal is finalized. “We’re just at the starting gate … there’s going to be a lot of hard work.”
Smurfit said WestRock has been on a “transformation journey” and Smurfit Kappa is aboard to make WestRock assets “stronger” and “rightsized” as part of the combined company. WestRock in the last year or so has permanently shut seven corrugated converting plants and more than one million tons of US containerboard capacity.
After the definitive agreement became public, Tony Smurfit said he spoke with his father and industry icon Michael WJ Smurfit, who he said is “seeing the combination as having tremendous potential.”
Smurfit Kappa is the largest containerboard producer in Europe, and is active in Mexico, Brazil, and Latin America. WestRock is the second largest containerboard producer in North America with about a 20% market share, and the company also runs North America’s second largest boxboard and folding carton business. WestRock has large containerboard business in Mexico and Brazil, and is the largest unbleached packaging kraft paper producer in North America with a 50% market share.