Almarai Co.’s First-Quarter Profit Rose 5.4%, Missing Estimates

Almarai Co., the largest Saudi Arabian food producer by market value, said first-quarter profit increased 5.4 percent as its poultry revenue grew.

Net income rose to 255.1 million riyals ($68 million) from 242.1 million riyals a year earlier, the company said in a statement on the Saudi stock exchange website today. That was less than the 292.9 million-riyal average estimate of ten analysts compiled by Bloomberg News.

In May, Almarai, which operates a joint venture with PepsiCo Inc., approved a 15.7 billion-riyal, five-year investment program to boost output and develop products. The company raised 1.3 billion riyals this month from an Islamic bond sale, which is part of a 2.3 billion-riyal sukuk program set up in 2012.

“Almarai has a solid long-term growth outlook with poultry and bakery expected to play an increasing important role,” NCB Capital said in an e-mailed report today. “However, its exposure to food inflation we believe poses a key threat on margins.”

Almarai slid 1.5 percent to 65.5 riyals. The shares have risen 3.2 percent this year.

First-quarter operating profit increased 2.9 percent to 300.8 million riyals, the company said.