Tony Smurfit provides compelling account of recent Hostile Takeover Bid at IoD Autumn Lunch

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Tony Smurfit provides compelling account of recent Hostile Takeover Bid at IoD Autumn Lunch

A riveting account of the recent hostile takeover attempt by International Paper of the Smurfit Kappa Group, which substantially undervalued the company worth.

Addressing an audience of 600 business leaders at the Institute of Directors (IoD) Autumn Lunch in Dublin, Tony Smurfit, Chief Executive Officer, Smurfit Kappa Group, spoke of the importance of the people you surround yourself with, both in terms of advisors and the substantial role of the company’s directors and Board and the part they played in recent events.  He charted the growth and ambition of the company in recent times and spoke of the importance of values, of loyalty, integrity and respect as the bedrock of the company.

Since joining Smurfit Kappa Group in 1986, Tony Smurfit has held a number of management positions both in the United States and Europe.  He was elected to the Board of Directors in 1989 and served as Chief Operating Officer until 2015, before taking up the role of Chief Executive Officer.  He currently oversees operations in 35 countries, employing 46,000 people and the company is listed on both the Dublin and London Stock Exchanges.  

At the lunch, he provided a fascinating insight in to the recent takeover bid and how it played out. He affirmed how the unconventional decision to go public about the offer had a high degree of risk attached to it, but was ultimately fundamental to their successful defence.  It was also a decision that was unanimously supported by their Board.  He highlighted the importance of being prepared, particularly if you believe the market value in no way reflects the true intrinsic business worth and cited the importance of Board cohesion and the importance of sticking with your principles.

My proposal to the Board to go public about the offer was unconventional, had a high degree of risk but was pivotal in our successful defence.  Having the unanimous support of the Board for this approach was of itself an immense support for myself and Ken Bowles, our CFO and the entire management team” said Tony Smurfit.

“Success is never a straight line” he concluded. 

The IoD Autumn Lunch took place on Friday, 21st September 2018 at the Clayton Hotel, Dublin, and was sponsored by William Fry.

Article Published: 25/09/2018