Saudi dairy group Almarai has booked an increase in full-year profits, driven by increased sales and product diversification.

For 2010, consolidated net income amounted to SAR1.28bn (US$341m), an increase of 17.2% on the same period last year. Operating profit reached SAR1.46bn, a 14.1% rise on 2009. Sales climbed 18.1% to SAR6.93bn.

In the fourth quarter, Almarai’s consolidated net income rose 14% to SAR283.8m, while operating profit increased 13.4% to SAR319.2m.

Sales in the quarter amounted to SAR1.80bn, an increase of 16.2% on the prior-year period.

“These exceptional results are attributed to increased sales, product diversification and  continuous improvements in quality and service,” the firm said in a statement. “The second half of 2010 saw dairy commodities, juice ingredients, packaging and feed costs increase significantly. The company’s procurement strategy protected margins during 2010.”

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