MUSCAT — Oman's Onic Holding SAOG, which is one of the largest investment companies in the region, yesterday said its net profit for the year ended March 31, 2004, soared 136.6 per cent to RO9.2 million, on the back of a handsome growth in its investment portfolio.
"The outstanding performance should be attributed to the remarkable growth in our local investment portfolio, better performance of associates and, of course, the insurance subsidiaries," Onic Holding Chief Executive Akbar Habib told Times Business.
A high-profile eight-member steering committee, which has been managing the affairs of the company since September 4, 2001, has recommended a 15 per cent (150 baisa per share) cash dividend for the year.
The total shareholders' funds of Onic Holding, which is now on the lookout for strategic acquisitions and alliances in the UAE and Bahrain, stood higher at RO26.78 million as against RO18.49 million in the preceding year.
A competent board is expected to replace the steering committee next month. The annual general meeting of the company will be held on June 26.
"The company had been in the red for a long time and we had lost several thousands in the past. Now, we are recovering a major fraction of losses after the company came out of the woods. We expect the steering committee to hand-over its responsibilities to a competent board of directors. The management led by Akbar Habib, indeed is doing a good job," a group of shareholders and investors told Times Business.
Akbar Habib said the company has been building up its asset-base and the financial performance for the year has been the result of the Steering Committee's endeavours to re-shape the company's assets through a strategic business model.
He lauded the Capital Market Authority for its enduring cooperation that has helped re-build the shareholder-value.
"The company has already come out of the woods with the continuous endeavours of the Capital Market Authority, and the steering committee," Akbar added.
"As I said in the past, we have already embarked upon an ambitious investment plan and plan to acquire existing businesses as part of our new strategy to become a well-diversified company in the region, having diversified investments. We are also looking at companies with reasonable revenues to explore strategic alliances, acquisitions and joint ventures," the CEO said.
Onic Holding scrip gained 70 baisa yesterday on the Muscat Securities Market and closed at RO4.450 before touching the day's high of RO4.500. Over 65,000 shares changed hands yesterday in 15 trades. The market capitalisation stood at over RO44 million.
The company has two subsidiaries — National Life Insurance and Al Ahlia Insurance, holding 98 per cent and 99 per cent stakes, respectively.
National Life, which had posted a loss in the preceding year, has reported a good net profit.
Al Ahlia is maintaining its profitability. Other associates include OIFC, Oman Orix Leasing, Al Anwar Industrial Trading, Al Anwar Ceramic, etc.
It also holds about 10 per cent stake in the capital of Alliance Housing Bank. Since the steering committee took over the company's affairs, it has been successfully maintaining good cash flow and the credit indeed goes to the steering committee led by chairman Salim bin Hassan Macki