Agility posts 8% Q4 profit fall

 

 

Kuwait's Agility, the Gulf's biggest logistics provider, posted an eight per cent fall in fourth-quarter profit, according to Reuters calculations based on a newspaper report.

 

Kuwaiti newspapers also said on Friday that Agility, which has been diversifying its business away from US deals to supply troops in Iraq, was planning a 25 per cent capital increase.

 

Six dailies said in similar reports that 2007 earnings per share reached 163 fils, while Al Rai added full-year net profit came in at around KWD155 million (Dh2.12 billion), down from KWD166.5m in 2006. There are 1,000 fils to the dinar.

 

Based on the KWD155m dinars, Agility would have posted a fourth quarter profit of KWD36m (Dh498m)after about KWD39m in the same quarter a year ago.

 

Henadi Al Saleh, Agility's director of group investor relations, declined to comment on the reports. "The official company announcement will be circulated (on) Sunday," she said in a text message to Reuters.

 

Agility's board had met on Thursday to discuss profits.

 

In Kuwait, some companies release statements to the local Arabic press first. Chief Financial Officer Ehab Aziz could not be immediately reached on Friday.

 

Newspapers also said the company would propose paying an 80 per cent cash dividend and a 10 per cent bonus share issue for 2007.

 

This is less than the previous year, when Agility paid a 90 per cent cash dividend and a 20 per cent bonus share issue.

 

They also said the company would conduct a 25 per cent capital increase, selling shares for 450 fils each, well below the latest closing price of KWD1.220.

 

Agility has a total market capitalisation of almost $1.2bn (Dh4.54n).

 

Based on outstanding shares of 951.67, according to Reuters data, plus the planned 10 per cent bonus share issue, a 25 per cent capital increase sold at 450 fils each would be worth around KWD118m.

 

Agility shares, which have fallen almost 12 per cent this year, will resume trading in Kuwait and Dubai on Sunday.

 

Chairman Tarek Sultan Al Essa told Reuters in April the company expected a lower profit in 2007, citing uncertainty over US government deals.

 

Agility has said it wants to expand its non-government supply business and enter emerging markets to lower its exposure to US army deals to feed troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

It has made a string of acquisitions and founded joint ventures, including in Iraq's Kurdish region and Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. (Reuters)

 

 

 

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