ABU DHABI / WAM
Adnoc Distribution on Wednesday announced that net profit for the fourth quarter of 2019 was AED496 million, an increase of 11.3 percent compared to same period last year. Ebitda for the fourth quarter of 2019 was AED658 million, an increase of 6.5 percent compared to the same period last year, driven by a solid operational performance in both fuel and non-fuel businesses.
The press statement issued by Adnoc Distribution on Wednesday added that total fuel volumes sold increased by 2.0 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 compared to the fourth quarter of 2018, driven by a continued recovery in the company’s retail business, growth in its corporate business and supported by new marketing initiatives.
The statement added that for the full year 2019, net profit increased to AED2.22 billion, an increase of 4.2 percent compared to 2018. In 2019, Ebitda increased 2.3 percent to AED2.84 billion, while underlying Ebitda (Ebitda excluding inventory gains) grew 7.2 percent to AED 2.72 billion, compared to 2018. The company’s Ebitda margin has also shown continued momentum, reaching 13.3 percent in 2019, up from 12.1 percent in 2018.
Growth in retail fuel volumes was driven by improvement in the core Abu Dhabi market, market share gains in the Northern Emirates following implementation of free assisted fuelling (effective November 3, 2019) and the contribution from new stations in Dubai. Non-fuel retail gross profit increased by 10.4 percent for the same period compared to Q4 2018.
This was supported by company’s convenience store revitalisation programme which offers customers an improved shopping experience, contributing to an uplift in average basket size by 5.4 percent in Q4 2019 compared to the same period of 2018.
In Q4 2019, a series of customer-focused initiatives were introduced to enhance the overall customer experience. The company unveiled its innovative next-generation fuel and retail station ‘Adnoc On the Go’, bringing Adnoc Distribution closer to its customers and the communities that it serves; launched its new customer loyalty programme ‘Adnoc Rewards’, offering customers more benefits, a seamless digital experience and smart payment options; and unveiled its next-generation Oasis convenience store to better serve customers, offering a contemporary family-friendly environment where customers can refuel, unwind and enjoy freshly prepared food.
The press statement noted that total fuel volumes sold increased by 0.7 percent in 2019 compared to 2018. Free cash flow (Ebitda minus capital expenditure) generation was up 16.4 percent year-on-year to AED2.33 billion for 2019. Non-fuel retail gross profit increased by 11.8 percent for the same period compared to 2018. Adnoc Distribution continues to focus on realising cost efficiencies, which has contributed to 8.6 percent reduction in operating expenses for 2019 compared to 2018.
Commenting on the announcement, Adnoc Distribution’s Acting CEO Ahmed Al Shamsi said, “We have delivered strong results in the fourth quarter as well as for the full year 2019. We continue to transform Adnoc Distribution into a world-class, customer-focused, commercially driven company with a determined focus on driving profitable growth. As we sharpen our focus on customer experience and pursue growth opportunities, both domestically and internationally, we will expand all our distribution channels to reach larger market segments and sustain volume growth. Finally, Opex reduction and optimisation of Capex also remain key priorities.”
Adnoc Distribution’s priorities remain customer focus, profitable growth and shareholder returns underpinned by a progressive dividend policy. To that end, the company’s Board of Directors has proposed a cash dividend of AED1.194 billion (9.55 fils per share) for the second half of 2019, which will be submitted to the Company’s shareholders for approval at the Annual General Assembly Meeting scheduled on March 31, 2020.
Subject to shareholders’ approval, total dividend for fiscal year 2019 is expected to be AED2.39 billion (19.10 fils per share), which would represent a 62 percent increase compared to the 2018 dividend, in line with the approved dividend policy. This would translate to a 6.4 percent annual dividend yield for 2019 (based on a share price of AED2.97 as of 11th February 2020). The company paid half of the 2019 dividend in October of last year and expects to pay the final payment in April 2020, subject to shareholders’ approval.