MUSCAT: Oman Flour Mills (OFM), the largest integrated food company in the Sultanate of Oman, has unveiled plans to acquire a number of food-related companies and assets, as well as grow its presence in the wider Gulf region – part of a drive to expand and diversify its portfolio.

OFM Chairman Ahmed Ali al Bulushi said the company is “actively pursuing growth opportunities” as part of its expansion strategy. “We are currently engaged in finalizing our strategic roadmap to venture into new segments within the food industry,” he stated in the company’s newly released 2023 Annual Report.

In its sights are the assets of an unspecified company engaged in the sweets and confectionery business, according to Al Bulushi, adding that the acquisition bid has been launched by Atyab Investments, the investment arm of Oman Flour Mills.

Also eyed by the Group is a company operating in the animal feed sector. “A technical consultant has been appointed to conduct a factory assessment evaluation of the target,” he stated.

Likewise, Atyab Food Industries (AFI) – a 100% owned subsidiary - is looking to acquire a leading bakery in Oman. To this end, a consultant appointed by AFI is in the final stages of completing the Customer Due Diligence (CDD) and Valuation process.

Publicly-traded Oman Flour Mills is a subsidiary of Oman Food Investment Holding Company (Nitaj), the food sector investment arm of Oman Investment Authority (OIA). The Group oversees a portfolio of around 14 subsidiary and associate companies spanning, among other areas, grain imports, milling and storage, industrial bakery operations, animal feed production, foodstuff, dairy and poultry products, and lab testing services.

Aggregate group revenue climbed 6% to reach RO 123.94 million in 2023, driven primarily by heightened revenue from the flagship Oman Flour Mills parent company.

“Despite a marginal 3% increase in the cost of sales, gross profit surged by 32%, reaching RO 18.12 million compared to RO 14.25 million in 2022. Operational efficiency played a pivotal role in boosting operating profit, which experienced a significant uplift of RO 3.96 million,” said the Chairman. However, net profit after tax slumped 25% to RO 1.30 million, down from the previous year's figure of RO 1.74 million, he noted.

Other initiatives, aimed at driving growth and product diversification at the Group, are also making headway. Atyab Investments is spearheading the Group’s plans to set up a bakery in Saudi Arabia. Discussions are underway with potential partners to finalize a detailed feasibility on the initiative, the report noted.

Furthermore, plans for the establishment of an industrial food cluster are progressing as well. It envisions a variety of small-scale manufacturing units that will meet the food-related requirements of Oman. A final report on the detailed market feasibility, shortlisted opportunities and financial model was due for completion in March 2024, the Chairman added.

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