Mpact’s first-half headline earnings — up 33% — belie the fact that sales volumes actually went backward, while debt rose to more than R2.6bn. But some canny investments, and a little luck, have cushioned the packaging group from the worst of the knocks and bangs. The FM spoke to CEO Bruce Strong.

Your gearing ratio has come down, even as net debt has gone up in absolute terms. But debt’s expensive, and it cost you R131.7m in finance charges (from R81.8m last year), so why would you pay a dividend under those circumstances?..

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