Halwani Gains on Bets Ramadan Feasts to Spur Sales: Riyadh Mover

Halwani Brothers Co. (HB) climbed the most in more than two weeks on bets the Saudi Arabian food producer’s sales will increase next month during Ramadan, when Muslims fast in the daytime and hold feasts in the evening.

The Jeddah-based company’s shares climbed 4.9 percent, the biggest advance since June 9, to 59.5 riyals at the close in Riyadh. The stock was the second-biggest gainer in percentage terms on the benchmark Tadawul All Share Index, which rose 0.2 percent. Volume in the stock increased to 2.1 times the three-month daily average.

Retailers in the kingdom, which is home to Islam’s two holiest sites, tend to post greater sales during Ramadan, which is set to start around July 9. The country of about 28 million people also hosts more than 10 million Muslim pilgrims throughout the year, many of whom journey to Mecca during Ramadan to perform the umrah pilgrimage. The Tadawul All Share Agriculture & Food Industries Index has jumped 19 percent this year, outpacing the main index’s 11 percent advance.

“There’s strong seasonality in the month of Ramadan for all food companies, including dairy, poultry and other food categories,” Montasser Khelifi, Dubai-based senior manager for global markets at Quantum Investment Bank Ltd., said by phone today. The trend affects financial results “as usually the quarter that includes Ramadan has the highest profit for these companies,” he said.

Halwani Brothers’ profit is expected to grow 17 percent this year, the fastest pace of expansion since 2010, according to the median estimate of three analysts compiled by Bloomberg. Two analysts have a buy rating on shares, while the same number recommend investors hold the stock, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Deema Almashabi in Riyadh at dalmashabi@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shaji Mathew at shajimathew@bloomberg.net

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