Savola Group, the Saudi-based food conglomerate, posted a 17 per cent drop in fourth-quarter net profit, missing analysts' forecasts, mainly due to a gain it booked from land sales in the year-ago quarter.
The firm, which owns the Middle East's biggest sugar refining business, made a net profit of 413.4 million Saudi riyals in the three months ending December 31, compared with a profit of 498.6m riyals in the same period a year earlier, it said in a statement on Wednesday.
Three analysts surveyed by Reuters expected Savola to post an average profit of 456.7m riyals for the fourth quarter.
Savola attributed the dip in profits to a capital gain of 153m riyals it incurred from the sale of two land plots during the fourth quarter of 2011.
Operational profit for the fourth quarter rose by 32.3 per cent to 792.2m riyals, the company said.
In a separate statement, Savola said it expects to make 1.5 billion riyals before capital gains and exceptional items in 2013 and net income of 260m riyals in the first quarter.
The company also set a dividend of 0.5 riyals per share for the fourth quarter.
In October, Savola raised its stake in fellow Saudi food firm Almarai to 36.5 per cent from 29.95 per cent by purchasing shares worth 2bn riyals.
The firm was set to close a 1.5bn riyals Islamic bond earlier this week, sources said.