x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Agthia Group feeds off consumer confidence

Agthia Group generated sharply higher profits as it improved margins and sales soared in the UAE.

Profits have soared during the past year at Agthia Group, the owners of the Al Ain mineral water brand. Sammy Dallal / The National
Profits have soared during the past year at Agthia Group, the owners of the Al Ain mineral water brand. Sammy Dallal / The National

Agthia Group generated sharply higher profits as it improved margins and sales soared in the UAE.

The Abu Dhabi-based food group, best known for its Al Ain mineral waters and also owning distribution rights to brands including Chiquita and Capri-Sun, had substantial sales last year.

Agthia made profits for the year of Dh124.7 million (US$33.9m), an increase of 44.5 per cent compared with a year earlier.

The company's brands were helping it to generate substantial sales growth in the UAE, said Iqbal Hamzah, the company's chief financial officer, in a statement to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.

"The strong performance is led by the 26 per cent sales growth in the consumer business division (UAE) and the 11 per cent growth in flour and animal feed," he said.

Profitability also improved as a result of falling grain prices and more competitive procurement, with production capacity increases at flour and feed mills. Agthia also embarked on cost-cutting.

Sales last year grew to Dh1.3 billion, 15.9 per cent up on a year earlier. Agthia also completed the acquisition of Pelit Su, a Turkish spring water company.

The company restructured its Egyptian operations, where a combination of domestic unrest and a lower-than-expected tomato and chilli harvest hit sales.

Agthia is 51 per cent owned by Senaat, formerly known as General Holding Corporation. The company's shares advanced 0.9 per cent on the ADX yesterday to Dh2.15, compared with a 1.1 per cent gain on the wider index.

Other producers of staple foodstuffs have also reported strong earnings. Saudi Arabia's Savola Group, a manufacturer of sugars and edible oils, reported 16.7 per cent growth in net profits last year to 1.4bn Saudi riyals (Dh1.37bn) as sales grew by 8.7 per cent.

 

ghunter@thenational.ae