Almarai said performance "in line with strategic development plan"

Almarai said performance "in line with strategic development plan"

Saudi food group Almarai has reported higher first-quarter profits on the back of rising sales "in all business segments" and a gain from a recent infant formula acquisition.

Almarai booked net profit of SAR273.6m (US$72.9m) for the three months to the end of June, up 7.3% on the first quarter of 2013.

The company said its decision to take full control of local infant formula venture International Pediatric Nutrition Company helped its bottom line. It cited a "one off re-measurement positive effect of SAR20.9m" from the acquisition.

Reuters reported Almarai's net profit missed analyst forecasts despite the one-off gain. Analysts on average estimated Almarai would post a profit of SAR284.9m.

Operating profit rose 3.2% to SAR310.4m. Almarai also pointed to the rise in sales across its business. Sales increased 12.3% to SAR2.72bn during the first quarter

Almarai said profits "also grew strongly" in all divisions except poultry. It added: "The company is satisfied with its business performance which is in line with its strategic development plan."