Reynolds Group, the global packaging giant owned by New Zealand's richest person, Graeme Hart, went into the red last year, because of a greater level of impaired assets and higher raw material costs.

In a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Reynolds reported US$5 million ($7.3m) loss in 2018, against a US$439 million profit in the previous year.

The company said its net "other" expenses increased by US$201 million to US$279 million.

"The increase was due to an increase in asset impairment charges of US$195 million, primarily due to a goodwill impairment charge of $206 million at Graham Packaging, as well as an unfavourable change of US$22 million in unrealised gains and losses on derivatives, partially offset by a favorable change of US$19m gains and losses on sale of businesses," it said.

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Reynolds' cost of sales increased by $364 million, or 4 per cent, mostly because of higher raw material, manufacturing and logistics costs.

These increases were partially offset by the impact of business divestitures at Closures, Pactiv Foodservice and Graham Packaging, it said.

Reynolds makes and supplies consumer food, beverage and foodservice packaging products.

The company sells to a diversified mix of leading multinational companies, large national and regional companies and small local businesses, primarily aimed at consumer food, beverage and foodservice market segments.

Aside from Reynolds, Hart owns Auckland-based private equity firm Rank Group.

Hart has specialised in leveraged buyouts of big companies throughout his career.

In 2006, he bought Carter Holt Harvey Alcoa's Packaging and Consumer group in 2008 for US$2.7b, later renaming it Reynolds.

His first major acquisition was the Government Printing Office in 1990, under the Labour government of then prime minister David Lange.