Dubai: Boosted by recent acquisitions in the region, Abu Dhabi’s F&B giant Agthia - which owns 'Al Ain' bottled water - recorded a 17 per cent increase in first quarter revenues to Dh665.5 million, with the consumer division cooking up solid gains. The net profit came to just over Dh49 million from an 85 per cent increase.
And more deals are on the way. “We take to the future with great confidence and strengthening our protein and Egypt business with a new strategic acquisition in Ismailia Investments (Atyab),” said Khalifa Sultan Al Suwaidi, Chairman. “This is in continuation of the group’s pursuit to becoming an F&B leader in our region and beyond as part of our recently announced 2025 strategic plan.”
With revenues of Dh430.5 million, the consumer division was boosted by the addition of Al Faysal Bakey & Sweets in Kuwait. Another consolidation move, of Al Foah dates in Abu Dhabi, alone contributed Dh137 million to the revenues during this period.
On track with integration
According to Alan Smith, CEO, “During Q1-2021, we consolidated Al Foah early January and Al Faysal Bakery later in the month. With the other two deals, the integration of the businesses is going well – we expect to formally close Nabil in Jordan in the second quarter and Atyab in Egypt in the third.”
Currently, the UAE makes up 80 per cent of the group’s revenues. This is where the recent buys also play their part, widening the sales base.
We remain optimistic but cautious, in light of the seasonality in some of our businesses, reduced tourism in the region, and continued lockdowns in some of our key markets
On whether Agthia would consider buying prominent brands on their own, the CEO said: “At this stage, we are interested in brands within businesses and not brands in isolation. We will look at successful businesses with a good size – they would be the attractive proposition for us.
"With Al Foah dates, we have an installed capacity of 100,000 tonnes per annum from two plants in the UAE, and we have room to expand if need be. At this stage, I don't see any need to commit capital expenditure on new plants outside of the UAE.
"For now, the Middle East and North Africa remain our clearly focused priorities. All indications are pointing towards improving overall business conditions for the rest of the year. We remain optimistic but cautious, in light of the seasonality in some of our businesses, reduced tourism in the region, and continued lockdowns in some of our key markets.”
The bottled water portfolio "sustained its market leadership in both volume and value share at 29% and 26%.
Within Agthia’s agri-business, revenues were Dh235 million, "lagging the sales of 2020 which was driven by a one-time World Food Program order".