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Saudi Arabia's Almarai post 5% increase in second-quarter profit

Almarai, the Saudi food producer operating a joint venture with PepsiCo, posted a 5 per cent increase in second-quarter profit as its dairy, juice and bakery business grew.

Almarai, Saudi Arabia's largest food producer, posted a 5 per cent increase in second-quarter profit as its dairy, juice and bakery business grew.

Net income rose to 398 million Saudi riyals from 380m riyals a year earlier, the company said in a statement to the Saudi stock exchange website on Sunday. That was less than the 404m riyal average estimate of nine analysts compiled by Bloomberg.

Almarai said in April it raised 1.3 billion riyals from the private placement of Islamic bonds with investors in the kingdom. The sale was part of a 2.3bn riyal sukuk programme it set up last year. Almarai has a 15.7bn riyal, five-year investment programme to boost output and develop products.

Chief financial officer Paul-Louis Gay said in May the company is considering tapping global debt markets in the next 12 months for about US$500 million as it seeks to expand its business in the US, Argentina and Ukraine. The debt may be an Islamic bond or a hybrid sukuk, he said.

Sales are expected to be "driven by the growth of poultry, fruit juice and bakery segments," Riyad Capital said in a research report dated July 2. "We continue to believe 2013 to be the year of poultry."


* Bloomberg News

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