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Tue 9 Oct 2007 11:22 AM

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Almarai milks profits in Q3

Gulf's largest dairy company sees net income surge 52% on higher sales to sixth consecutive record.

Saudi Arabia's Almarai, the Gulf's largest dairy company by market value, said third-quarter profit surged 52% on higher sales to its sixth consecutive record, beating analysts' expectations.

Net income in the three months to September 30 was 186.2 million riyals ($49.65 million), compared with 122.6 million riyals in the year-earlier period, Almarai said in a statement on the Saudi bourse website.

Sales surged 33.6% to 2.73 billion riyals, it said. Operating profit rose 44.5% to 558.3 million riyals.

Analysts' forecasts for third-quarter profit ranged from 171 million riyals to 174 million riyals, according to a Reuters survey last month.

Earnings per share in the nine months to September 30 rose to 4.35 riyals compared with 3.35 riyals in the year-earlier period.

Shares of Almarai have risen 17.3% this year, compared with a decline in the Saudi index, according to Reuters data. - Reuters

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