Milaha has put in place a multi-year strategy focusing on investment in new markets, especially South East Asian, and expansion such as foraying into truck trading to achieve medium and long-term growth, according to its top official.
“Going forward, our multi-year strategy will ensure that we continue to invest for the future, and further strengthen our capabilities to serve our customers more effectively and efficiently,” Milaha chairman Sheikh Ali bin Jassim Mohamad al-Thani told shareholders at the annual general assembly that approved QR711mn net profit and 35% cash dividend for 2016.
At the extraordinary general assembly, shareholders approved the addition of truck trading activity to the company’s operations, which would further diversify revenue streams.
Highlighting the key ingredients in its strategy that focuses on investments in new markets, Sheikh Ali said within this pursuit, Milaha Offshore has set up operations in Singapore to target the South East Asian markets with more specialised offshore marine solutions and also enhanced its Indian operations.
Milaha has taken delivery of a new vessel ‘Milaha Explorer’, a 300-pax lift boat which was successfully pressed into service in South East Asia. It had recently signed an agreement with Kandla International Container Terminal in India to start the first direct common carrier feeder service between Saudi Arabia and India.
After its entry into the Indian market in March 2015 with the launch of the first direct service between Qatar and India, Milaha has been exploring options to enhance its presence in the Asian country.
On the domestic front, the company has not only made “significant” investments in warehousing but also established QTerminals (in joint venture with Qatar Ports Management Company, or Mwani) to manage the first phase of New Hamad Port, all of which would bear fruit in the years to come, Sheikh Ali said. Mwani and Milaha will have 51% and 49% stake respectively in QTerminals.
Although expecting challenging market conditions to persist in the medium term, he said the company remains “strong” both financially and operationally.
“The multi-year plan, defined by Milaha’s management team and approved by the board of directors, will ensure that we continue to invest for the future to expand our core and non-core activities and further strengthen our capabilities,” according to him.
Milaha president and chief executive Abdulrahman Essa al-Mannai said beyond the short-term numbers, as part of its multi-year strategy, the company has expanded its services across several sectors and added new assets to its portfolio.
Highlighting “significant” rate pressure across the board in its marine transport segments, including container, gas and tanker shipping, al-Mannai said in this difficult environment, it focused on maintaining utilisation and cost optimisation, which saw cost savings of QR60mn in 2016 against the previous year.
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