Glass container manufacturer Ardagh Group reported a 2% increase in glass shipments in the second half of 2020 compared to the year before.
In its Quarter 4 and Final Year 2020 financial results the group said its Glass Packaging Europe division performed strongly in the quarter, with packaging volume/mix increasing by 2% compared to the same period last year.
Volume/mix in Glass Packaging in Europe increased in most categories, notably food, as lockdowns had a diminishing impact on consumption patterns compared with earlier in the year.
Adjusted EBITDA in Glass Europe of $92 million was 12% lower than the same period last year due to the timing of furnace rebuild activity and some capacity management initiatives in the quarter.
For the full year 2020, Glass Europe volumes were broadly on par with 2019 levels, with an adjusted EBITDA margin of 22.5%.
Its Glass North America division reported fourth quarter revenue of $394 million an increase of 2%, principally reflecting increased volumes in food.
It said its focus in North America remained on lowering the cost base through investment in automation and other productivity-enhancing measures.
In a call with financial analysts, Chairman and Chief Executive Paul Coulson reiterated that the profile for investments in its glass packaging business remained unchanged.
The group plans to invest approximately $300 million in Europe as well as inefficiency and cost reduction initiatives in Europe and North America in the period up to the end of 2024.
If I now move on to the results for the quarter. Our Q4 performance was strong in the group. Revenue grew by 8% to $1.7 billion compared to the same period last year and by 5% at constant currency, principally reflecting 5% volume strong mix growth in metal packaging. Glass Packaging volume/mix was in line with the prior year.
In Glass North America, fourth quarter revenue of $394 million increased by 2%, principally reflecting increased volumes in food. Adjusted EBITDA of $49 million declined by 16% due to increased operating costs as well as an unfavorable mix effects.
Our focus in Glass North America remains on lowering the cost base through investment in automation and other productivity-enhancing measures. In recent weeks, we agreed bolt-on acquisition of the Longhorn Glass plant in Houston from AB InBev as well as entering into a long-term supply agreement with the adjacent ABI brewery. This acquisition further strengthens an important and long-standing customer relationship with ABI. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.
The profile for investments in our Glass Packaging business is unchanged. We will invest approximately $300 million in growth opportunities in Europe as well as inefficiency and cost reduction initiatives in both Europe and North America in the period up to the end of '24. So total outlays on business growth investments will, therefore, now be approximately $2.1 billion for the 4 years from 2021 to 2024.
If we look to our view of '21, whilst the near-term environment in many markets is subject to COVID-related uncertainty, the impact of restrictions has been markedly less in Glass Packaging than earlier in 2020, as end customers and our customers have adapted to this new environment