Saudi's Savola says on track to meet full-year forecasts

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Saudi Arabia's Savola Group posted a 12.9 percent rise in third-quarter net profit on Thursday and said it was on track to meet its forecast for full-year earnings.

The food company made a quarterly net profit of 457.4 million riyals ($122 million) for the three months to September 30, a bourse filing said. This compares with a quarterly profit of 405.2 million riyals in the year-earlier period.

Savola's earnings exceeded the average forecast of six analysts polled by Reuters, who forecast the firm would make 418.6 million dirhams in the period.

The company attributed the increase to "continued sales growth and increased market share in its retail sector," as well as the receipt of dividends worth 67.9 million riyals from private equity fund Joussour Holding Co.

Savola was confident of meeting its full-year net profit forecast for 2013 of 1.5 billion riyals, Abdulraouf M. Mannaa, chief executive of Savola, said in the earnings statement.

Its nine-month net profit rose 15.3 percent to 1.14 billion riyals, the statement said.

Savola also proposed a third-quarter dividend of 0.5 riyals per share in a separate statement to the bourse.

The company said on Oct 7 it had received regulatory approval for a 339.8 million riyals capital increase to fund its acquisition of Al-Muhaidib Holding Co Limited's stakes in Savola Foods Co and Azizia Panda United Co.

The increase, which will hike its capital to 5.34 billion riyals, still requires the assent of shareholders, it added.

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