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Wed 20 Jan 2010 10:42 AM

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Saudi dairy giant Almarai posts 13.5% rise in Q4 profit

Higher sales helped boost profits, but the firm's actual results miss analysts' forecasts.

Saudi Arabia's Almarai, the Gulf's largest dairy firm by market value, said its net profit rose by 13.5 percent in the fourth quarter on higher sales, but missed analysts' forecasts.

Almarai made a net profit of SR248.8m in the three months to December 31, compared to SR219.2M it made a year- earlier, the firm said in a statement posted on the bourse's website.

"These results are due to the increase of sales and the firm's market share in all sectors, as well as the diversification of its markets and sources of revenue," the firm said in the statement.

Analysts forecast of Almarai's fourth quarter earnings ranged from SR264.9M to SR314.5m, according to a Reuters survey.

Operational for the fourth quarter rose by 6.3 percent to SR281.4m.

The firm made SR1.1 billion in 2009, up 20.5 percent from the previous year. Its earnings per share stood at SR9.95 per share compared to SR8.35 a year earlier.

Almarai's board proposed to issue a dividend of four riyals per share, the firm said in a bourse statement. (Reuters)

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