Stock Agthia
Agthia's consumer division was particularly effective in the revenue growth for first-half 2021. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Abu Dhabi’s blue-chip companies are back in full growth mode, with the food giant Agthia Group scoring on both revenues and net profit. Sales for the first six months of 2021 totalled Dh1.32 billion, a gain of 21 per cent from a year ago, while net profit was Dh67.9 million, up 61 per cent.

Clearly, the big businesses are closer to making a full recovery from the COVID-19 disruptions of last year. In Agthia’s case, which owns the Al Ain bottled water brand, the numbers have also been boosted by recent acquisitions in Kuwait (Al Faysal Bakery) and Jordan (Nabil Foods), plus the one made at home, of Al Foah dates.

“With the three acquisitions, net revenue contribution by the consumer business division increased 20 per cent year-on-year to 65 per cent, with the agri-business division contributing the remaining 35 per cent of the revenue, the company said in a statement.

“As we enter the second-half of the year, we look forward to delivering on our growth strategy to become an F&B leader in the MENA and Pakistn region,” said Khalifa Sultan Al Suwaidi, Chairman of Agthia Group.

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Meat in those numbers

The three acquisitions boosted both the top-line and bottom-line, with another deal closure set to boost the second-half tally. This will be the one for a majority stake in Egypt’s processed meat company Ismailia Agricultural and Industrial Investment, which, according to the Agthia CEO Alan Smith, should close this month itself. “There were a few regulatory hurdles that had to be crossed first,” he said.

“Buying a related business is only one part of the equation, how we successfully integrate them is the more important part. The earlier three deals contributed to the H1-2021 performance and takes us closer to the 75 per cent target we have set for the Consumer Business Division.” (As of end June, the division provided 65 per cent of the Abu Dhabi company’s top-line.

On the domestic sales performance, Smith said that revenues were down year-on-year but profits made gains. “Last year we discontinued our relation with Capri-Sun (the flavoured drink brand) and this showed as a downside in revenue this year,” said Smith. “But the profits from the domestic sales actually grew during this period.

“As important as choosing what to do – with acquisitions, etc. – it’s also important choosing what not do. We will continue with that strategy.”

"Yes, the 5-year ambition is to be the F&B leader in the MENA and Pakistan region. We will think of expanding the footprint into Saudi Arabia and Pakistan; but we need to make sure there's value being created for our shareholders. And that value needs to be accretive" - Alan Smith