Baladna poised to own 14,000 cows by February, looking to go public soon after
Qatar used to import most of its milk from Saudi Arabia and the UAE and the milk industry was the first to be hit hard following the imposition of the illegal blockade by neighbouring countries.
However, moving fast and thinking out of the box, Qatar soon saw a solution to the crisis. Baladna, a Qatari company, decided to fly in cows from different parts of the world to Qatar and shore up domestic milk production.
The plan was wildly successful and the company is looking to raise the number of its cows to 14,000 by February next year and meet the entire local demand by June, reported Gulf Times.
The company currently owns about 4,000 cows and are in the process of importing 10,000 more in the coming months, a senior official said.
Baladna CEO John Joseph Dore told Gulf Times that with the arrival of next batches of cows, a four-fold rise is expected in the company's overall supply of milk in Qatar.
“At the moment, we’re supplying close to 70 tonnes of milk daily, including both full fat and low fat varieties,” he said.
Unlike the first batch of 4,000 cows which were flown in by Qatar Airways, the next batches will be much larger in numbers and will be brought in via ships.
Meanwhile, Baladna is understood to be planning an initial public offer of its shares to raise funds and bring in strategic investors, reported Reuters citing informed sources.
The privately-owned firm has chosen QNB Capital, the investment banking arm of Qatar National Bank, to arrange the IPO for the first half of 2018. One source said the IPO might value the company at about QR2bn ($550m).
However, the sources said the valuation process had not been completed. Baladna and QNB Capital declined to comment.
The IPO plan underlines one way in which Qatar is seeking to strengthen its economy in the face of the boycott by building up domestic companies to develop local production of key goods and services.
Qatar’s 2018 state budget, released this week, includes a plan to award QR29bn of contracts to support growth in the private sector.
Following its initial airlift of cows, Baladna plans two sea shipments — each of 3,300 animals — into Qatar by February. Another consignment of 3,000 cows is on the cards but not yet ordered, reported Farm Ireland.