Mondi Says 1Q Profit Rises 35% on European Acquisitions

Mondi Ltd., a South African maker of paper and packaging, said first-quarter earnings rose 35 percent because of improved market conditions and as acquisitions in Europe boosted income.

Underlying operating profit for the three months through March increased to 162 million euros ($211.7 million), compared with 120 million euros in the same period last year, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement today.

The increase is “a result of improved market conditions in the packaging paper and South African businesses, as well as the benefits” of acquisitions in Germany and the Czech Republic, the company said.

Mondi, listed in Johannesburg and London after a 2007 spinoff from Anglo American Plc, is trying to reduce its exposure to sluggish economies by expanding into developing markets such as Eastern Europe. The company generated 43 percent of 2012 revenue in Western Europe, which has been struggling to emerge from recession.

Mondi shares declined 0.1 percent to 119.37 rand at 11:04 a.m. in Johannesburg. The stock has gained 30 percent this year, the eighth best-performing company on the 166-member FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“Currency effects have been mixed during the quarter,” the company said. Mondi benefited from a weaker rand, zloty and Czech koruna. The Swedish Krona and Russian ruble had a negative effect, it said.

Mondi sales rose 1.2 percent to 5.81 billion euros for the 12 months through December 2012, according to a February 21 statement.