Bahrain-based Islamic Investment major, International Investment Bank (IIB), on Sunday announced the dividend to its investors in IIB Automotive Ltd (IAL) for the fifth consecutive year, thanks to the strong performance in the Tunisian market.
IAL owns a significant equity stake in ARTES, a listed company on the Tunis Stock Exchange and the exclusive distributor of Renault, Nissan, and Dacia automobiles and their spare parts in Tunisia. Though the Tunisian market faced significant challenges in 2011 caused by the “Arab Spring”, ARTES managed an overall successful year, earning total revenue of Tunisian Dinars 148.9 million through the sale of 7,500 cars.
Revenues in the first half of 2012 reached Tunisian Dinars 94.5 million, a 64.4% increase over the same period in 2011. This growth is mainly due to the recovering automobile market in Tunis, which has seen the number of Renault and Nissan cars sold rise during the first half of 2012.
IIB and its investors acquired an equity stake in ARTES in March 2008, its first investment both in Tunisia and in the car distribution sector. The ARTES IPO was one of the largest in Tunisia and was oversubscribed by more than ten times. The company is well positioned within the Tunisian market as it operates debt free, enjoying a strong net cash position, thus allowing it to invest its own resources into development, diversification and growth of its business in Tunisia without resorting to bank financing.
“Last year was a particularly challenging year given the aftermath of the financial crisis, the continuous downturn in the world economy and the Euro Zone predicament which have all adversely affected investors’ confidence. The MENA region was particularly badly hit, not least because of the Arab Spring, which began in Tunisia in late 2010 and resonated through the rest of the region over the course of 2011. The knock-on effects of these factors negatively impacted investment activity and business development, as well as consumer spending and confidence. ARTES was not spared from these effects, though it was more than ready to meet the challenges they had on its operations,” Aabed Al Zeera, IIB’s Chief Executive Officer and ARTES Board Member, said.
“ARTES has maintained a strong financial position and excellent market share in the Tunisian automobile industry for many years. With brands such as Renault commanding a market share of about 18.9% and Nissan which a somewhat smaller market share, ARTES was able to record steady sales and revenue throughout the year. We expect this strong performance to continue through this year to 2013,” he added.