Baladna plans to tap more export markets, expand domestic outlets
May 27 2019 11:02 PM
Dr Kamel Abdallah, Baladna chief executive
Dr Kamel Abdallah, Baladna chief executive

Baladna, a beacon of self-sufficiency that has been growing more than 100% year-on-year, is rolling out a two-tier strategy, which includes tapping more export markets and expanding domestic outlets, as Qatar completes the second year of "unwarranted blockade" by Saudi-led quartet.

"We do have solid plans to expand and deliver shareholder value," Baladna chief executive Dr Kamel Abdallah told Gulf Times when asked about the dairy major's plan in the wake of Gulf crisis that however brought the best out of Qatar.

Baladna was one of the first entities to swiftly spring into action (after Qatar came under unjust economic, trade and diplomatic embargo) by flying in cows from Germany and Switzerland - a show of strength of Qatar as well as that of its private sector to overcome hurdles with ease.

Baladna, whose main focus is on health and wellness, is moving towards becoming an integrated food and beverage company.

"Our main goal is to achieve self-sufficiency in Qatar and prioritise it among others," he said, adding Baladna continues to gain market share in every category it enters, reflecting the unique consumer offerings and a good price-equity relation.

Expecting that in the years to come, the market will open further to many offerings as consumers trends and needs evolve, Abdallah said Baladna will be a dominant player in that perspective.

"Our medium to long-term strategy will be focused on global and local trends to provide consumers with high value and quality dairy or other food products," he said.

In May 2018, it had achieved 95% self-sufficiency in fresh milk in Qatar and it has just started the journey for long-life milk and 100% natural fruit juice categories.

Abdallah said the dairy sector in Qatar is a very dynamic one with constant growth due to its health and wellness elements, and the robust growth of the population in the country.

"I can confirm now is that we are growing more than 100% year-on-year, and we continue to evolve dynamically," he said without divulging the actual top line figures as it is yet a private entity, pending its process of initial public offering (IPO).

The company has already lined up QR21mn investments for UHT (long-life milk) and another QR10mn for fresh juice.

About its brand strategy, Abdallah said Baladna is rolling out a two-tier strategy built on proximity and availability. "We are constantly expanding across different outlets in Qatar aiming to be accessible by everyone in Qatar," he added.

The company is also looking at exports as an additional source of revenue, and has devised its strategy to promote products and emerge as a regionally recognised player.

On the proposed IPO, he said the process is "work in progress" and did not elaborate further.



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