x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

RAK Ceramics proves durable in tough year

RAK Ceramics's full year results rise 3 per cent buoying the company's share price in trading on the Abu Dhabi exchange

RAK Ceramics, the world's largest ceramic tiles maker, recorded modest full-year earnings growth for last year despite subdued demand from the region's construction industry.

It posted a 3 per cent increase in full-year net profit, helping to lift its stock in Abu Dhabi.

The company said full-year profit rose to Dh270.2 million (US$73.5m) from Dh261.9m in 2009. Revenue for last year was Dh3.34 billion, compared with Dh3.77bn the year before.

A spokesman for the company said the board was still finalising a detailed financial statement, but he would not confirm when this would be released.

Shares in RAK Ceramics rose 1.5 per cent on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange during the day but ended flat at Dh2.64.

Dividend payouts from the company in the past have made it a favourite with fund managers and traders.

This month, Dr Khater Massaad, the chief executive of RAK Ceramics, said there was a possibility it would pay a cash dividend in its latest results, but he added that was a decision for the board.

Shares in RAK Ceramics have risen 68 per cent since August.

Fadi al Said, the head of equities at ING Middle East, said the preliminary results were "in line with expectations", but he was awaiting more details from the company.

Dr Massaad outlined ambitious growth plans to boost the company's market share by 10 per cent over the next four years.

Ceramics production in Europe has decreased by about 30 per cent in the past three years and Dr Massaad said the company planned to increase sales in Europe, although it would not set up subsidiaries in the region.