Shares in Mpact were 4% higher at R24.45 on Wednesday morning after the packaging group said underlying operating profit surged 47% to R672m in the year to December, thanks in part to the upgrade of one of its mills. “The group’s financial results reflect a strong trading performance in the second half of the year in the paper business, which benefited from the Felixton mill upgrade, lower recovered paper prices and increased corrugated packaging sales,” Mpact said. On the other hand, the plastics business “had a difficult year”. Mpact said total revenues were up 4.9% to R10.6bn, helping it to hike its total gross dividend for the year by 27% to 70c a share. The paper business grew revenue by 7% to R8.3bn, while revenue from plastics fell 3% to R2.4bn. “We expect to see further improvement in the operating performance of the paper business as the recent projects are optimised and fruit volumes improve in the Western Cape following the drought,” Mpact said. The group also aimed to ca...

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