But the Finland-based company said that all its business segments had been hit by rising raw material prices for the period 1 January to 30 September.
The firm said its year-on-year net sales had climbed five per cent from €1.39bn to €1.47bn and that EBIT had increased from €98.5m to €106.6m – a rise of more than eight per cent.
While overall operating earnings improved compared to the same period in 2009, Q3 figures saw a slight year-on-year drop mainly due to continued softness in North American markets, said Huhtamaki.
The company also confirmed that it had agreed the sell-off of the majority of its European rigid plastics operations. The operations to be sold include plants in Finland, France, Poland and Turkey, as well as sales units in Germany and Lithuania. The strategic review of the rigid plastics business in Italy will continue.
Huhtamaki said flexible packaging had accounted for 26 per cent of its sales distribution – up from 25 per cent the previous year. Films remained constant at eight per cent, while sales in North America fell from 29 per cent in 2009 to 28 per cent in the current period.
Moulded fibre sales also remained stable at 12 per cent of the group’s total as did its Foodservice Europe-Asia-Oceania at 23 per cent.
The company’s flexible packing operations, which are spread throughout Europe, Asia, Oceania and South America, saw a 10 per cent increase in sales to €390m. Year-on-year EBIT rose 16 per cent to €24.7m.
Strong performance in Asia fuelled this growth while it European plants “returned to a solid growth path”, - with growth being achieved in spite of rising raw material costs, said the firm.
Films and recycled moulded fibre
Films saw increased sales of €6m to €127m “due to volume growth and lower cost base resulting from 2009 restructuring activities”, said a Huhtamaki statement.
Recycled molded fiber, used for fresh products such as egg and fruit packaging, sales jump €20m to €171m and EBIT climb almost €3m to €15m. The company has operations in Europe, Oceania, Africa and South America.