Saudi Arabia's Ma'aden Q2 profit rises 42% on improved sales
The biggest miner in the Arabian Gulf, though, missed analysts' forecasts
Saudi Arabian Mining Company or Ma'aden, the Arabian Gulf's biggest miner, posted a 42.3 per cent rise in second-quarter net profit as sales volumes and prices of major commodities including gold and alumina climbed.
Net profit in the three-month period to June 30 rose to 517.8 million Saudi riyals (Dh507m), it said in a statement on Thursday to Saudi stock exchange, where its shares are traded. However, Ma'aden’s second-quarter net income is 19 per cent lower than what it reported in for the first three months of this year.
The quarterly earnings also came below analysts’ estimates. SICO Bahrain projected the firm to post 759.88m riyals, while Egyptian investment bank EFG-Hermes had estimated 641.27m riyals net profit for the second quarter, according to Reuters data.
Companies in Saudi Arabia are recovering after two years of tough operating conditions as the kingdom’s economy slowed on the back of three-year oil price slump and price fluctuations in some of the other commodities. EFG-Hermes expects Saudi-listed companies to lead corporate earnings in the region in the second quarter along with the Egyptian publicly-traded firms.
Ma'aden attributed the boost in profitability to a 14 per cent increase in “sales volume of gold, alumina and ammonium phosphate fertiliser (APF) in addition to an increase in average realised prices”.
Prices of aluminium rose by 16 per cent, and APF by 14 per cent during the period, Ma'aden said. It added that an increase in the income from time deposits and a rise in its share of net profit from its joint venture, Ma'aden Barrick Copper Company, also helped to boost its quarterly income.
Ma’aden and state-controlled Saudi Aramco are at the heart of the Saudi government’s economic diversification plans. Ma’aden is leading Saudi efforts to develop the mining sector in the kingdom and increase its contribution to the gross domestic product.
Efforts are under way to improve the company's efficiencies and increase its international competitiveness as it looks to explore new markets through mergers and acquisitions.
The company is working with financial advisers including Michael Klein as it restructures its balance sheet and scouts for potential acquisitions targets, Bloomberg reported earlier this month, citing people familiar with the matter.
Mr Klein, the former Citigroup investment banker who runs now his own boutique advisory firm, is giving the company strategic advice. HSBC is advising Ma’aden on its capital market plans, while JP Morgan is helping it identify deal opportunities.
Mr Klein is one of Saudi Arabia’s key international advisers on its plans to diversify its economy away from oil. He is working with the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, on its partnerships with international companies. He is also said to have provided strategic advice to the Saudi government on the planned initial public offering of Saudi Aramco, according to the reports.
Updated: July 26, 2018 06:59 PM