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Saudi’s Almarai Posts Marginal Q4 Net Profit Gain

Saudi’s Almarai Posts Marginal Q4 Net Profit Gain

Net earnings in the three months to December 31 were 373.3 million riyals, up 1.2 per cent on the same period a year earlier.

Saudi Arabia’s Almarai, the Gulf’s biggest dairy company, reported a marginal rise in fourth-quarter net profit on Sunday, in line with analyst forecasts, as higher sales were offset by the non-recurrence of a one-off gain.

Net earnings in the three months to December 31 were 373.3 million riyals ($99.5 million), 1.2 per cent higher than the 369 million riyals posted in the same period a year earlier, it said in a bourse statement.

Eight analysts polled by Reuters had forecast Almarai would have net profit of 367.8 million riyals in the quarter.

Almarai’s performance in the fourth quarter was boosted by a 13.7 per cent advance in sales year-on-year, with its dairy and juices, poultry and bakery businesses posting strong growth, the company said.

However, its profit increase was tempered by the fact it had posted a one-off gain of 47.2 million riyals in the fourth quarter of 2012 from a land sale.

Profit for the full-year 2013 was up 4.3 per cent on the previous year at 1.5 billion riyals.

On an annual basis, the benefit to earnings of a 13.5 per cent increase in sales was offset by “increasing depreciation and funding costs as a result of the investment program,” the statement added.

Almarai said last month that its board was recommending a 1 riyal per share cash dividend for 2013, down from the 1.25 riyals per share paid out for the previous year.

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