Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

Finnish Food-Packaging Maker Says Its India Pain Is Over

Updated on
  • Customers are restocking food packaging after using up stocks
  • CEO says third-quarter earnings to still show sales drop

Finnish food-packaging maker Huhtamaki Oyj shares continued to climb after the company said demand in its biggest Asian market is recovering.

Huhtamaki stock has added 4.6 percent over two days, rising to as high as 37.29 euros at 10:22 a.m. in Helsinki, after Chief Executive Officer Jukka Moisio said the negative impact of a tax reform in India, which hit second-quarter sales, is easing.

It’s been “easier to smile” since September, Moisio said in an interview at the company’s headquarters in Espoo, Finland, on Sept. 27 and published on Tuesday.

Third-quarter earnings on Oct. 26 will still reflect woes caused by the new law that required, among other things, reprinting of price tags on all packages. As clients emptied their stocks and stopped ordering, sales dried up -- but now restocking is bringing a boost.

“It’s looking strong” in India, Moisio said. “There’s been more demand than we can deliver.”

Investors have paid heed and the stock has rebounded from a July low.

Jukka Moisio

Photographer: Roni Rekomaa/Bloomberg

India is a focus for the company, with sales there nearly doubling to 281.9 million euros ($333 million) at the end of last year since 2014, and among the fastest growth rates projected, compared with the more mature U.S. and European markets.

“Wherever are the biggest populations, there are the biggest opportunities -- and our investments follows that,” Moisio said. “India will be one of the largest markets as the population grows and food-to-go and packaging markets develop.”

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