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Oman Flour Mills mulls rice mill acquisition in India

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Majority state-owned Oman Flour Mills (OFM), one of the Sultanate’s largest food sector businesses, plans to expand its geographical footprint, as well as diversify its investments across the agrifood value chain.

Aligning its growth objectives with the Omani government’s strategy to strengthen the country’s food security, publicly-listed OFM has outlined plans to venture into new food-related activities, acquire assets in key source markets, and tap new markets for bulk grain supplies – its primary feedstock.

Notable is its ambitions to consolidate its presence in the lucrative rice business to support a proposed animal and aquaculture feed project.

“Oman Flour Mills and other leading Omani partners are in the process of setting up a facility for Animal & Aquaculture Feed Rice mill acquisition in India,” said Salah Hilal al Maawali, Chairman of the Board of Directors.

“The company is exploring the feasibility of acquiring a rice mill in India to further expand its presence,” he noted in the Board of Directors’ report for the six months ended June 30, 2021.

Further, with the aim of securing new markets to cover its grain requirements, OFM is eyeing farming powerhouse Australia as a potential supplier. A trial shipment is planned sometime during the second half of this year, according to the company.

Furthermore, the Group is planning a full-fledged foray into corn handling, followed by an expansion into wet milling of corn starch and its derivatives.

“A detailed technical study was completed to understand the opportunities in producing corn starch and its value added derivatives. A detailed business and market study will be commissioned in H2 of 2021,” said the Chairman.

Plans to add breakfast cereals to its expanding portfolio of food offerings are making headway, Al Maawali stated. “Oman Flour Mills through Atyab Food Industries has started discussions with suppliers of puffed cereals. The company is looking to launch this product towards the end of the year. The company is also looking to conduct a formulation exercise in Europe, but the current travel restrictions have slowed down the progress on this initiative,” he clarified.

Oman Flour Mills’ Group comprises subsidiaries and associate companies including Atyab Food Industries LLC (AFI), Atyab FoodTech LLC (AFT), Atyab Technical Services LLC (ATS), Sohar Flour Mills LLC (SFM), Oman Fisheries Company SAOG, Atyab IFFCO Poultry, Sohar Poultry Co SAOC (SPC), Osool Poultry, Arabian Food Production Company SAOC (AFPC), Modern Poultry Farms SAOC (MPF), Emirates Poultry Farms (EPF), and Gulf Poultry Farms. The parent company, Oman Flour Mills, is owned 51 per cent by the government through the Oman Food Investment Holding Co (OFIC) – an affiliate of Oman Investment Authority (OIA).

The Group recorded total revenue of RO 48.6m for the first half of this year, up 4.7 per cent from RO 46.5 million for the corresponding period of 2020.

Net profit after tax for the period totaled RO 5.3m as compared to RO 6.1m in 2020.

(Picture for illustration only)

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