Saudi-based Almarai, the Middle East's biggest dairy producer, has approved a new five-year business plan with plans to invest SR7.1 billion ($1.89 billion).
Under the 2020–2024 plan, Almarai said each of its business units will drive the company forward through growth and innovation across the traditional trade, modern trade and foodservice channels, with its operating model transformed by more automation, cyber systems, cognitive computing and the growing digitalisation of the food and beverage industry.
“Given the persistent challenging economic conditions across the region, the focus on efficiency and cost optimisation measures will continue throughout the plan period to ensure continuous competitive advantage," Almarai said in a statement to the Saudi stock exchange.
Investments will include the replacement of existing assets, adoption of green and cleaner energy footprint, improvement of production capacities and capabilities in farms and manufacturing facilities, distribution and transportation facilities, extension of geographical footprint and the enhancement of innovation and product development capabilities.
The company's board said the investment program is planned to be financed mainly via company operating cash flow.
Almarai, which includes Saudi Arabia’s Savola Group and the Public Investment Fund among its major shareholders, reported a 2.6 percent drop in its first-quarter net income to SR336 million, primarily due to a drop in profit at the dairy and juices segment of its business and a rise in expenses.
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