Saudi Arabian dairy company Almarai Co. has posted an increase in net profit of 36.4% for the 2008 financial year.

Net profit reached SAR910.3m (US$243m) for the year ended 31 December, up from SAR667.3m in the same period last year.

Sales for the year amounted to SAR5.03bn, an increase of 33.4%, while operating profit amounted to SAR1.06bn, an increase of 35.9% compared to the previous year.

In the fourth quarter of 2008, Almarai generated a net profit of SAR219.2m, an increase of 13.5%.

Sales for the fourth quarter increased 22% to reach SAR1.27bn. This, the company said, reflected "the impact of shifts in the seasonality of consumer consumption" from the fourth quarter to the third quarter of 2008.

"The 2008 performance can be attributed to a combination of consumer knowledge, superior product and excellence in execution across all aspects of the business, particularly the expansion of our distribution network," Almarai said in a statement today (19 January).