Industrial sector hopes to achieve better growth rates in 2018

MUSCAT: Several industrial companies expressed their optimism that this year will see better growth of the industrial sector driven by higher oil prices and the implementation of many infrastructure projects in the Sultanate and other GCC countries.
Last year, industrial companies took a number of initiatives to reduce the impact of cutting government spending in the GCC, one of the main markets for Omani industrial firms.
Industrial companies faced last year many domestic and external challenges, including continued volatility in oil prices.
The political and economic conditions that prevailed in the region and other countries in 2017 limited the growth of revenues and profits of many companies.
Oman Cement said it had worked over the past year to overcome the effects of a significant rise in some key cost elements through good cost management and productivity improvement, and hoped to maintain market share despite continued strong competition, as mentioned in the company’s annual report which will be discussed today in the general assembly annual meeting.
The company plans to distribute 30 per cent of the nominal value of the share, equivalent to 30 baisas per share, which is the same as last year.
Raysut Cement said that it focuses on active markets with improvement in operational processes.
It added that its financial results were affected last year by a number of factors, notably the decline in demand and rising costs resulting from high cost of energy, raw materials, maintenance, increase in income tax and a number of other factors.
On March 13, the company approved a cash dividend of 29 per cent of the par value of 29 baisas. Raysut Cement is the largest industrial company by market value of RO 159.2 million and its share closed at 796 baisas.
The Oman Cables Industry said that in 2017 it maintained its sales volume despite current market conditions, noting that it benefited from 19 per cent higher copper prices than in 2016, which had a positive impact on the value of sales. Copper is the main component of cables.
Al Jazeera Steel Products said that improved oil prices and a commitment to reduce production will contribute to boosting the national economy and stimulating growth, which will stimulate the construction sector. At the same time, the company explained that the main challenges remain. It added that it will continue in 2018 focusing on improving factory uses, strict cost control and increase sustainable margins through diversification of markets and geographical areas.
Al Jazeera Steel Products is one of the leading industrial companies that achieved a good growth in its net profits by 6 per cent to RO 4.8 million in 2017. The company said that 2017 was a good year in terms of sales as it managed to sell and deliver the highest quantities. It added that the achievement was accomplished in a challenging year, starting with relatively high raw material prices followed by periods of volatility as the iron future market in China was affected.
In the Flour Mills sector, Salalah Mills said that the Group’s revenues declined slightly last year to reach RO 57.1 million, compared to RO 57.3 million in 2016. The parent company recorded a net profit of RO 4.1 million, a decrease of 9.6 per cent over 2016, because of completion from flour mills in the UAE, as well as the competition of the new mills in the Sultanate. The Group achieved a net profit of RO 3.9 million, an increase of 11.6 per cent from its level in 2016 due to improved performance of subsidiaries. At the Annual General Meeting (AGM), on March 26, the company plans to distribute 50 per cent cash dividend, or 50 baisas per share. — ONA