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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 August 2018

Agthia posts 5% profit drop in Q2 amid tough market conditions

UAE-based producer of Al Ain bottled water cited lower consumer spend among reasons for lower profitability

Al Ain Water, one of several companies owned by Agthia. The company reported a 5% drop in net profit in Q2 2018, on lower consumer spend and losses on income. Delores Johnson / The National
Al Ain Water, one of several companies owned by Agthia. The company reported a 5% drop in net profit in Q2 2018, on lower consumer spend and losses on income. Delores Johnson / The National

Abu Dhabi-based food and beverage company Agthia reported a 5 per cent year-on-year drop in the second quarter net profit, pulled down by a fall in consumer spending and losses on foreign exchange rates.

Net profit attributable to the owners of the company for the three-month period to the end of June fell to Dh62 million, Agthia said in a bourse filing on Monday. Revenue for the period also fell 5 per cent year-on-year to Dh516.8m, it said.

“Wide-ranging economic measures that have been taken in the past few years in response to relatively lower oil prices have created a ‘new normal’ for our markets,” Agthia said in a statement to Abu Dhabi stock exchange, where its shares are listed.

“As our consumers respond by spending less, shifting pack sizes, switching brands or searching for promotions much more intensively than before, we as producers and marketers are adjusting to this new reality.”

The company, which is majority owned by Abu Dhabi Government-controlled conglomerate Senaat, said total assets stood at Dh3bn as of June 30, up slightly from Dh2.9bn the previous year.

Agthia has struggled to maintain profit growth after subsidy reforms in flour and animal feed sectors -- two of the major revenue sources for the company. The introduction of VAT earlier this year has also added to pressure on its consumer business lines, which the company is trying to offset with a tighter control on costs.

The firm, which produces the Al Ain bottled water brand in the GCC, among other products, reported a Dh337m loss on cost of sales, and a Dh7.2m loss on currency exchanges on foreign operations.

Agthia’s first-half net income also declined, by 8 per cent year-on-year to Dh109m, according to its financial statement.

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Revenue from Agthia's food business rose 15 per cent year-on-year in the first half of 2018 to reach Dh105m, while the water segment stayed flat from a year ago, at Dh405m on the back of "weak demand" for its products in Saudi Arabia, it noted.

Agthia last year acquired Saudi-based Delta Water Company, which produces Al Ain in the kingdom. It plans to raise as much as Dh2bn to fund acquisitions in the region, particularly in the kingdom, as part of the company’s 2020 business strategy, its chief executive Tariq Al Wahedi told The National in May.

“All in all, we are still maintaining our market leadership positions, and a solid financial stability, against all odds,” the company noted in its statement to the bourse on Monday.

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