February 11, 2018 / 2:13 PM / in 6 months

Saudi's Savola Q4 loss narrows on higher margins

RIYADH, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s largest food products company, Savola Group, reported a fourth-quarter loss on Sunday but said it was much smaller than a year earlier due to higher profit margins and a lower impairment loss at one of its subsidiaries.

Its net loss for the three months to Dec. 31, 2017, was 37.5 mln riyals ($10 million), compared with a loss of 915.7 million riyals a year earlier.

NCB Capital forecast Savola would make a quarterly net profit of 144 million riyals.

Savola said a higher share of profits from associate companies and lower operating expenses also helped its fourth-quarter performance compared to a year earlier.

It also said an impairment loss, related to operations at one of its subsidiaries, was reduced in the last quarter of 2017 to 222 million riyals from 573.8 million riyals a year ago.

Sales for the fourth quarter, however, fell to 5.8 billion riyals, from 6.8 billion a year ago.

The company said it would withhold dividend distributions for 2018.

($1 = 3.7502 riyals)

Reporting by Marwa Rashad; Editing by Susan Fenton

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