Al Meera Consumer Goods Company (QSC) held its Annual Ordinary General Assembly on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at the Diplomatic Club in Doha, in the presence of HE Abdulla Bin Khalid Al Qahtani, Chairman of the Board of Directors, as well as members of the Board of Directors, shareholders and investors. All items on the agenda were discussed, such as hearing and approving the Board’s Report and the Corporate Governance Report for the year ended December 31, 2014, also discussing and approving the Company’s future business plans.
This also came in line with hearing the External Auditor’s Report of the year ended December 31, 2014.
The Assembly approved the Board of Directors’ proposal on the distribution of cash dividends of QR (9) per share which is equivalent to 90 per cent of the nominal share value for the year 2014. Also, the Board of Directors were discharged from liabilities and the Assembly approved their remuneration for the year ended December 31, 2014.
Finally, they agreed on awarding the tender for fishery section in the Gulf Mall and Muraikh to Aldalup Sea Food Company, which is managed by its director, Mr. Ahmed Abdullah Al Khulaifi, who is also a member of the Board of Directors, and on the appointment of external auditors for the year 2015 and determined their fee.
During his speech, Abdulla Bin Khalid Al Qahtani, Chairman of Al Meera Consumer Goods Company (QSC) said: “On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am honored and pleased to present to you, our valued shareholders, Al Meera Group’s Annual Report for the year ended December 31, 2014, which has been another year of significant achievements and record performance.
He added: “The year 2014 witnessed the construction and completion of nine new shopping malls located at Muraikh, Al Azizia, Muaither, Jeryan Nejaima, Thakhira, Al Wakra, Al Thumama, Al Wajba, Rawdat Ekdeem, to fulfill the different daily needs of Qatar’s residents wherever they are.” He pointed out: that “Each shopping mall includes a contemporary Al Meera supermarket, shopping outlets and a number of restaurants to promote new standards of a comfortable shopping experience to the community.”
“The aim of the expansion is to further expand our reach to more local communities in Qatar. We have 14 additional new malls in Qatar, indeed the construction of some of these malls have already started.” He then said: “The sites of these malls are located in Sailiya North, Umm Salal, Leabaib 1, Leabaib 2, Bu Sidra, Al Wakra2, Rawdat Aba El-Herran, Azghawa, Al Khor, Um Qarn, Rawdat Al Hamama, Jeryan Junaihat, Al Sailiya, and Ain Khaled.” He added: “It is anticipated that Al Meera supermarkets and convenience stores in these fourteen (14) additional malls will increase Al Meera’s store space by another 32,500 SqM, to over 100,000 SqM, from 72,500 SqM which is in line with our planned expansion strategy.”
He then said: “Alongside the construction of the nine new malls during 2014, we completely refurbished our existing supermarkets in Azghawa and Mamoura, including installation of new refrigeration equipment, shelving, flooring and lighting system, to bring them to the same standard as the new malls. During the year, we also started the renovation of our mall in Hazm Al Markhiya – the facade and mall area – to give the mall a fresh “look and feel”, which is not only modern, but appealing to the eyes.He continued by adding: “Sales and net profits increased steadily in 2014. The refurbished stores and new stores opened in 2013 – Nuaija and Lqutaifiya – have all contributed to the increased sales during the year.”
As an example, he said: “After refurbishment, sales of Azghawa and Mamoura increased by 22.0 per cent and 13.1 per cent, compared to January 2014 before refurbishment. The 2014 average monthly sales of Nuaija have increased by 35.5 per cent, compared to its 2013 average monthly sales. The 2014 average monthly sales of Lugtaifiya have increased by 52.6 per cent, compared to its first full month of operations in December 2013.”
He also indicated: that “The Group’s sales in 2014 grew by 11.8 per cent, from QR1,946.0m to QR2,176.0m. Overall net profit attributable to owners of the Company rose by 15.5 per cent from QR196.1m to QR226.6m. 2014’s net profit before investment income increased by 51.7 per cent when compared to 2013’s net profit before investment income and net gains on expropriation of land and building in Al Khor.”
He explained: “Since its inauguration in 2013, Al Meera’s first Géant Hypermarket at Hyatt Plaza continues to see respectable growth in its sales, with sales increasing by 13.7 per cent in 2014. Géant Hypermarket at Hyatt Plaza is now one of the community’s favourite hypermarkets in the Aspire Zone.”
And with regards to operations in the Sultanate of Oman, he said: “The hypermarkets and malls in the three key cities of Oman were completely refurbished and converted into community malls. Refurbishment of Azaiba (5,500 SqM) was completed in November 2013; Barka (3,500 SqM) in September 2014; and Sohar (2,500 SqM) in December 2014.” He added: “All three community malls follow the same Al Meera’s business model, and consist of retail shops, eateries and Al Meera hypermarket as anchor. The hypermarket comprises of several sections that provide a comprehensive selection of products to consumers, such as an in-house bakery; a butchery; a special section for fish; a revamped fruits and vegetables section, offering local and imported varieties as well as an increased assortment of groceries and non-food; not to mention a renewed, specialized space for leading brands of electronics, and a section for household items with an attractive display of toys, gifts and household items.”
Regarding Al Meera’s strategic partnership, the Chairman said: “On September 21, 2014, Al Meera Consumer Goods Company (Q.S.C.), together with its partners, Regency Group Holding W.L.L. and Aramex Regional L.L.C., Dubai – UAE, incorporated a logistics company named, “Aramex Logistics Services Co. L.L.C.” to develop and operate a logistics facility and services business in Qatar.” He continued: “This involves building a logistics distribution center on a 91,000 SqM plot of land situated just south of Doha. The center will be built in several phases. The initial phase will include a 20,000 SqM warehousing facility, with plans to quadruple the warehouse in the future phases.”
Al Qahtani explained: that “The center will provide a variety of value-added services, including third party ambient temperature warehousing, third party temperature controlled storage, and other logistical services such as domestic trucking, customs clearance, and express and freight services. Aramex Regional L.L.C. will bring to the venture its know-how and logistics systems and will be charged with the day-to-day management and operation of the facility. The facility will provide Al Meera with the means to expand its product and brand offerings in the domestic market.”
He then said: “We will continue to strive for excellence to ensure our long-term strategy for growth is sustainable and the business we built will always keep abreast and in tune with the ever changing world of retailing. We remain focused on our vision to be “The Favourite Neighbourhood Retailer”, and will endeavour to promote community shopping by catering to the needs of every community we served. Last but not least, we are committed to delivering sustainable value creation for our shareholders year on year.”
To end his speech, on behalf of the Board of Directors, Al Qahtani expressed his sincere gratitude, appreciation and thanks to His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, and to His Highness the Father Emir, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, for their continuous support, guidance, and wise leadership in developing the local economy and economic institutions in order to serve the country’s growth.
He stated: “The Board would also like to graciously thank His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, for his commitment and support to Al Meera. Our appreciation and thanks also goes to the Company’s Control Department at the Ministry of Economy and Commerce for their continued cooperation and support given to Al Meera.” He added: “We would like to extend our sincere thanks to you, our valued shareholders, for your continuous commitment and support to enable Al Meera to achieve strong growth and performance. Our thanks are also extended to the executive management and staff of Al Meera for their hard work, perseverance and dedication. We ask Allah Almighty and Exalted to guide us in accomplishing our commitments to our beloved country, our stakeholders, and our customers as we moved forward to building a sustainable future.”
Board of Directors’ Report
According to the Board of Directors’ Report, 2014 was another year of outstanding growth and achievements in construction milestone, operations and financial results.
Strategic Investment in Qatar
According to the report: “This has been a historical year for Al Meera in construction milestone. In line with the expansion strategy set by your Board, the Company has invested and successfully completed construction of nine new community malls in the State of Qatar during the year. We have another 14 malls underway.” The report added: “These new community malls, with Al Meera supermarkets and convenience stores as anchor, are our commitment to our valued customers to bring stores to their communities to make shopping easier, convenient and fun. When completed, Al Meera will have community malls serving 56 communities through the State of Qatar.”
Store Refurbishment is one of Al Meera’s Strategies
With regards to store refurbishment, the report indicated: “To keep abreast with the ever-changing consumer behavior and shopping habits, we have invested and will continue to invest strategically in store refurbishment.” It added: “In 2014, we completely refurbished our supermarkets in Azghawa and Mamoura. In Hazm Al Markhiya we even went further. In additional to the supermarket, we have redone the façade of the mall to give it a totally modern “look and feel” and are currently renovating the entire mall area. When completed, the mall area will house several new retail shops, two extra restaurants and a coffee shop.”
Plans are underway to carry out similar refurbishment and renovation of our flagship mall in Mansoura.
The report indicated that over the past four years, our investment in property and equipment has increased more than five-folds. As at December 31, 2014 the value of our property and equipment assets stood at QR588m compared to QR109.7m as at December 31, 2010.
Investing in the Future is essential to keep ahead of competition. Increasing store space is necessary to ensure Al Meera remains tomorrow’s leading retailer.
Store Refurbishment in Oman
Regarding store refurbishment in Oman, the report mentioned: “To align Oman’s business model to that of Al Meera Qatar, we refurbished three of the largest stores we acquired in 2013 – Azaiba (5,500 SqM), Barka (3,500 SqM) and Sohar (2,500 SqM) – and converted each into a community mall.” It added: “This move has brought the operations in Oman into profit. Like the community malls in Qatar these new refurbished community malls offer our customers a modern Al Meera hypermarkets and a selection of well-known retail shops, restaurants and fast food outlets to meet their daily needs.”
Incorporation of Aramex Logistics Services Co. L.L.C.
On the incorporation of the Aramex Logistics Service, the report said: “The requirement to have a professionally managed centralized logistics distribution facility with highly sophisticated logistics and supply chain systems and controls, becomes more apparent as we extend our foothold into many new communities throughout Qatar.” It also mentioned: “To ensure all our stores are always adequately stocked with minimum risk of overstocking, Al Meera Consumer Goods Company teamed up with Regency Group Holding (Regency) and Aramex Regional, Dubai – UAE (Aramex) and incorporated “Aramex Logistics Services Co. L.L.C.” to professionally manage our logistics and supply chain processes.”
The report indicated that the new logistics company is owned: 51 per cent by Al Meera, 39 per cent by Regency and 10 per cent by Aramex.
The logistics facility, to be built on a 91,000 SqM plot of land south of Doha, will have ambient temperature and temperature controlled storage facilities. Besides warehousing services, the facility will provide other logistical services such as domestic trucking, customs clearance, and express and freight services to Al Meera as well as third parties. Logistics management is crucial to our successful planning and implementation of plans to meet the expansion of Al Meera.