Almarai profits nudge up despite higher raw material costs18 January 2012
Saudi Arabia’s largest dairy firm Almarai reported a small increase in Q4 profits but said that its margins had been hit by increased raw material costs.
Net profits increased to 285.5 million riyals ($76 million) in the three months ended 31 Dec - a 0.6% rise year-on-year. Profits in Q3 were down 33.5%.
Q4 sales were up 16.1% year-on-year to 2.1 billion riyals. Total sales for the year jumped 14.7% year-on-year to 7.95 billion riyals.
Almarai said that it did not book impairments on its investment in telco Zain Saudi during the quarter. Almarai was one of nine founding shareholders in Zain Saudi and owns a 2.5% stake valued at 350 million riyals.
"The fair value of the Zain equity investment has been significantly below cost. Management is assessing the quantum of impairment and will recognize the impairment loss in its annual consolidated financial statements for the year ended 31 December, 2011," said an Almarai statement.
Almarai’s chief financial officer told Reuters in October that it will likely take a $36 million hit on the stake.
Thre Saudi firm revealed plans to invest 4 billion in its poultry business last year and acquired farms to supply feed in Argentina.
Shareholders can expect a 2.25 riyal dividend per share for 2011.
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