By Santhosh V Perumal/Business Reporter
Milaha yesterday said it will sail smooth this year amid turbulence in the global energy front and that it will adopt “wait-and-see” approach on acquisitions.
“I believe Milaha is in a stronger position relative to many of our peers, and will be able to withstand and overcome the challenges better than many others,” its chairman and managing director Sheikh Ali Jassim bin Mohamad al-Thani told the annual general assembly as shareholders approved the 55% cash dividend.
Terming 2015 to be “extremely challenging,” he said the steep drop in oil prices has created uncertainty and volatility in the global energy markets and has directly impacted many of the economies in the region.
“This will naturally have some impact on our business in the short term, and we will accordingly exercise fiscal prudence to ensure as little negative impact as possible,” he said.
Although profit in Milaha’s maritime and logistics segment, whose business is largely focused in Qatar and the region, fell 3% year-on-year, Sheikh Ali said operationally, its two largest units - container shipping and port services - improved, driven by strong volume growth. Optimistic about 2015, he said the current environment may well create a number of interesting opportunities for the company to grow in the long term.
Sheikh Ali highlighted that prior to the decline in global oil prices; Milaha actively pursued growth across a number of core areas and evaluated several acquisition opportunities both within and outside the region. “In light of the volatility in the energy markets, we felt it would be prudent to take a wait-and-see approach,” he said.
Global oil prices are now 40% lower than the 2014 level on lower demand and increased production from other sources, especially the US shale output.
However, Sheikh Ali said the company will continue to stay focused on exploring opportunities for organic and inorganic growth to enable it to achieve the strategy of making Milaha a global player.
The general assembly also elected the new board for 2015-17 with Sheikh Ali as the chairman and Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa al-Thani (representing Qatar Petroleum) as vice chairman.
The other members are Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani; Saad Mohamad al-Rumaihi; Hamad Mohamad al-Mana; Adel Ali bin Ali (representing Ali Bin Ali), Salman Abdullah Abdulghani; Mazen Jassim Jaidah; Ali Ahmad al-Kuwari; Sulaiman Haidar Sulaiman and Ali Hussain al-Sada. Reserve members include Sheikh Suheem bin Abdulaziz bin Suheem al-Thani and Mohamed Nasser al-Qahtani.
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