Saudi Arabian dairy giant Almarai has reported a rise in sales and profits for the first quarter of the year.

For the period ending 31 March net profit grew 0.7% to SAR308.5m (US$82.2m). Operating profit rose 6.6% year-on-year to SAR403.2m.

Sales increased 13.6% to SAR3.45bn for the group.

Almarai said profit growth came from the “continuous growth of sales” in its main segments dairy, juice, bakery and poultry. Growth was tempered by the cost of sales, which grew at a higher rate than sales due to the increase in fuel, electricity costs and an unfavourable product mix.

“Given the very competitive market conditions driven by the economic slowdown, the performance of the company has been relatively strong in its core segments demonstrating the resilience and efficiency of its business model. Going forward, the company will exercise caution while continuing to focus on its strategic targets,” Almarai said.