To double our size and profitability

We aim to double our size and profitability by being well positioned in developed markets; working with major FMCG brands; driving market share gains and investing behind fundamental growth drivers.

Our goal is to double our size and profitability. The macro-economic environment has remained challenging with overall market demand continuing to be weak, leading to a decline in like for like box volumes of 2 per cent compared to 2022/23. Customers are starting to increase promotional activity and stock levels, with like for like volumes in the second half of the year showing positive growth. The medium-term target for box volume growth of 1.8 per cent (GDP+1 per cent) was significantly impacted by inflation in addition to lower production volumes.

Cash flow and net debt  

Free cash flow was impacted in the period by a number of one-off items and led to an outflow of £175 million versus a cash inflow of £354 million in 2022/23. The cash outflow included a working capital outflow of £417 million including a net outflow of £137 million (2022/23: net benefit of £69 million) in respect of the reversal of prior period cash collateralisation of energy hedges which we undertook to limit our counterparty exposure. The underlying working capital outflow was principally driven by lower paper and energy prices reducing trade payables. In September 2023 we paid the final amount of £103 million for the remaining outstanding shareholding in Interstate Resources, the majority of which we acquired in August 2017.

Leading the way in sustainability 

Sustainability has been at the heart of our business for many years as we have developed and grown into a solely fibre-based corrugated packaging business and have built our Now & Next Sustainability Strategy around ambitious near and long-term targets that confirm our commitment to the Circular Economy and our Purpose of Redefining Packaging for a Changing World.

Replacing one billion units of plastic by 2025 was one of these targets and we are proud to have achieved this target 16 months ahead of schedule. We have replaced over 1.2 billion units of plastic with a range of new and innovative fibre-based solutions. Everyday plastic items that have been replaced on supermarket shelves include ready-meal trays, fruit and vegetable punnets, plastic carriers and shrink-wrap that is commonly found on soft drink bottles.

As well as supporting our customers’ sustainability challenges, we also continue to make good progress in delivering against our own sustainability targets. We have reduced our total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 5% in the year (19% compared to 2019), strengthened our human rights due diligence having achieved our target to roll out Sedex SAQs (Supplier Ethical Data Exchange. Self-Assessment Questionnaire) to all sites and maintained 100% of our sites engaging in community activities.

We are delighted that our progress on climate change was recently recognised with our CDP A List position (achieving A grade for Climate Change, alongside A- for Forests and Water Security) with continuing high ratings from EcoVadis, MSCI, S&P Global and Sustainalytics.


The Board considers the dividend to be an extremely important component of shareholder returns. In June, we announced a final dividend of 12.0p per share, taking the total dividend for this year to 18.0 pence per share, in line with 2022/23. Subject to approval of shareholders at the AGM to be held on 3 September 2024, the final dividend will be paid on 4 October 2024 to shareholders on the register at the close of business on 6 September 2024.

Non-financial key performance indicators 

We are committed to providing all employees with a safe and productive working environment. We are pleased, once again, to report improvements in our safety record, with our accident frequency rate (defined as the number of lost time accidents per million hours worked) reducing by a further 9% to 1.65, reflecting our ongoing commitment to best practice in health and safety. We are proud that 262 out of a total of 325 reporting sites achieved our target of zero accidents this year and we continue to strive for zero accidents for the Group as a whole.

In the year we achieved a good performance in our customer service measure of OTIF (on-time, in-full) deliveries at 96%, maintaining the same level as the prior year (96%). Management remains fully committed to our target of 97% on-time, in-full deliveries and the highest standards of service, quality, and innovation to all our customers and we will continue to strive to meet the demanding standards our customers expect.