Spread-ing dairy growth: Baladna doubles down on self-sufficiency projects and cheese production

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

Baladna is refocusing investments into projects targeting food security in more overseas markets as well as its new cheese production operation. ©Getty Images
Baladna is refocusing investments into projects targeting food security in more overseas markets as well as its new cheese production operation. ©Getty Images

Related tags Baladna Dairy Cheese

Middle Eastern giant Baladna is refocusing investments into projects targeting food security in more overseas markets as well as its new cheese production operation, marking a strategic shift despite positive financial results for FY2023 to date.

Baladna recently announced its financial results for the first nine months of FY2023 ending September, reporting a 9% year-on-year growth in revenue to QAR773mn (US$212.3mn) and 16% year-on-year growth in net profit to QAR65mn (US$17.9mn).

The firm attributed these positive results to multiple factors including higher sales volumes, cost controls and retail price increases – but did not disclose how much of the increased profitability was contributed from price hikes in the final document released to the public.

Notably, this time around the firm has focused a great deal of attention and investment into self-sufficiency projects with other markets as well as its cheese production partnership with the Bel Group.

One of these was a formal partnership with the Suez Canal Authority to enhance collaboration in Egypt’s food security, a partnership expected to lead to the development of a 20,000-strong dairy cattle farm to produce 300 million litres of fresh milk annually, as wella s other dairy production and agricultural projects.

“The collective aim is to establish this new project as a fundamental pillar significantly contributing to the growth of the agricultural sector and the enhancement of food security,”​ Baladna Managing Director Ramez Al-Khayyat said via formal documents.

“The agreement covers the initial areas of cooperation for dairy production and manufacturing in Egypt, with an investment volume of up to US$1.5bn.

“Baladna stands fully prepared to invest in this project, drawing upon our world-class resources and expertise.”

The firm has also lined up another project focused on dairy production in Algeria, which is in addition to its existing self-sufficiency project in Malaysia​ and targeted projects in more markets in the South East Asian region.

In addition, Baladna has also partnered with cheese heavyweight Bel Group over the production of the latter’s The Laughing Cow cheese jars.

“We are delighted to announce the start of the production of spreadable cheese under [The Laughing Cow] brand, which will further improve our revenue performance and positively impact the bottom line,” ​Baladna CEO Malcolm Jordan added.

“This is a collaboration that allows us to expand the dairy offerings in Qatar and provide even more high-quality products [to local consumers whilst also] making international brands more accessible in the Qatari market.”

Innovation not out

Far less mention has been made regarding product innovation and portfolio broadening in the final released documentation, which has previously always been a key area of focus​, though Jordan has stressed that this is not out of the picture.

“[We still have a] relentless commitment to product innovation and operational excellence,”​ he said.

“Baladna’s primary focus is to on fortifying Qatar’s food security and self-sufficiency, [and] we still strive to create value through superior product delivery, the broadening of our product range, and emphasising efficiency across our value chain.”

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