Aramex, the largest Arab logistics firm, said the economic crisis brought revenues growth to a standstill in the fourth quarter but full-year net profits still rose 21 per cent to Dh147.3 million (US$40.1m). As the slowdown in global economic activity gathered pace at the end of last year, fourth quarter revenues grew just 1.1 per cent, to Dh500.5m. The company attributed the flat performance to declining revenues in some European and North American markets. In addition, the Muslim holidays during the quarter lowered the number of working days.
"Our fourth quarter revenues have slowed to a halt, a result of the global financial crisis, with December showing the most weakness," remarked Fadi Ghandour, the founder and chief executive of Aramex. Despite the end-of-year slowdown, its full-year revenues grew 17 per cent, to Dh2.08bn, Aramex said. The company provides express delivery, freight forwarding and logistics and other services in the Middle East, South Asia, Europe and North America.
Aramex will seek to protect its cash reserves going into the deepening slowdown by adopting a more cautious expansion plan, Mr Ghandour said. "We will only embark upon new acquisitions if the value is very attractive in key strategic markets." Aramex traded at Dh0.96 in early trading today, down from Dh2.24 in September. The company was founded in Jordan in 1982 and has branches in more than a dozen countries in the region.