By Abdul Rawuf
Almarai made a profit $129.06 million in the three months to Dec. 31
Saudi Arabia's Almarai, the Gulf's largest dairy company, reported a 13 percent increase in fourth-quarter net profit on Sunday, in line with analyst estimates as sales grew faster than costs.
Almarai made a profit of 483.7 million riyals ($129.06 million) in the three months to Dec. 31, up from 428 million riyals in the year-earlier period, it said in a bourse statement.
Five analysts polled by Reuters had forecast on average Almarai would make a quarterly profit of 480.2 million riyals.
Almarai said its fourth-quarter sales were 3.58 billion riyals, versus 3.33 billion riyals in the same period of 2014.
"(The) cost of sales increased at a lower rate due to improving in-put costs and better cost management," Almarai's statement said.
In December, the company decided to hike its dividend for 2015 and increase its share capital by 33 percent through the issuance of bonus shares to help support its growth plans.