The company’s Board of Directors has recommended distribution of cash dividends of 40 per cent of the share face value, or 40 fils (13.5 cents) per share.
UFK chairman Amer Diab Tamimi said the achievement of these profits was partially attributed to the sale of investments not in line with the objectives of the company. He said UFK continued to implement its long-term balanced strategy to enhance business activities in all areas, and to divest specialised investments and activities not in line with business objectives. UFK sold its entire stake in Ra’ad Stores Company at the end of 2003, generating a profit of KD 1.2 million (US$4 million).
Commenting on the company’s activities during the year, Al Tamimi said UFK began fishing operations for the new season 2003-4 in September, with full capacity of its fleet. He said fish harvest levels for this season were lower than the previous season, attributed to the political and security conditions in the region and the adverse effects of those conditions, as well as bad weather conditions. New vessels recently purchased by the company participated in fishing operations for the first time this season and are expected to have a positive effect on improving the fish harvest in the future, with new equipment installed on these ships enabling longer time at sea. In addition, their unique specifications allow storage of fresh shrimps and fish for longer periods, he said.
In the sales area, Al Tamimi said the company continued its prudent policy to secure the leading position of the company and the pioneer role its plays in the sea products market. This was attained through careful geographical expansion based on a clear strategic vision. During the year, the company opened five new Dana Showroom branches with a view to further expand the consumer base and get as close to clients as possible.
UFK also maintained its expansionary policy in importing fresh fish and other sea-foods, he said. Keen to deliver distinguished services to clients, the company enhanced its home delivery services to provide the best products of highest quality. This was clearly reflected on the performance of the sales division which achieved noticeable growth in sales sizes and earnings.
On the operational side, Al Tamimi said construction of the Doha Plant has been completed, and operational testing is already underway. Equipped with the latest technologies, this factory will provide various sea products in different packages. Thorough studies for the transplantation project are underway, with a view to covering the shortage in production during some seasons and providing new sources of income for the company, he said.
At the end of 2003, the Dana Showrooms activities were sold, while the company retained the right of management pending the completion of the ownership transfer formalities. The cooperation with the new owner is to be maintained to secure appropriate and professionally managed outlets, consistent with the company’s marketing strategy.
Al Tamimi further explained that management is currently considering the feasibility of segregating or restructuring its remaining activities, so as to choose the best option. In this way, the company will be practicing its activities through financially and legally independent companies, while retaining influential stakes. He said management also intends to seek the assistance of specialised firms to entrust them with managing those activities. Such firms would either have capital participation, or would be simply entrusted with the management functions. Relevant studies are expected to be finalised by the beginning of the year 2005.
In conclusion, Al Tamimi confirmed that UFK still has many plans and ambitious objectives conducive to enhancing the distinguished position of the company. He said that through collaborated efforts of the staff, executive management and the Board, the company looks forward to meeting the challenges of the future, optimistically and with full confidence.
KIPCO, with assets of more than US$10 billion under management or control, is one of the leading diversified holding companies in the Middle East and North Africa, and a major regional force in financial services and media & technology, with further interests in real estate and industry. The largest private company in Kuwait, KIPCO employs 10,000 people internationally and its shares are the most actively traded on the Kuwait Stock Exchange.
Monday, February 16- 2004 @ 9:17 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.