Abu Dhabi-based food and beverage maker Agthia Group PJSC is shifting into online sales and home deliveries to help offset the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on its business.

CEO Alan Smith told Arabian Business that the e-commerce side of the company increased 100 per cent during the lockdown period, although it wasn’t enough to prevent a 48 per cent plunge in net income in the first half of the year.

“What Covid-19 has taught people is that the e-commerce sector, which historically has been about two per cent of food retail sales in the UAE, from our perspective, we’ve seen a growth in the last few months of over 100 per cent in terms of demand,” said Smith, who took over as CEO on 7 July.

The group saw its net profit slip to AED42M from AED83M in H1 last year, although it did record a 2.6 per cent increase in revenues over the period.

The drop in profit was attributed to lower sales of bottled water in the UAE and Saudi Arabia; bad debt provisioning against longer collection days in international markets; and extra manufacturing and logistics costs to keep the business running through the pandemic.