BMI Industry View: Libya near-term growth outlook was given a slight boost in late December following reports that the resumption of oil production was proceeding more quickly than previously expected, and that the United Nations and US and EU governments had decided to lift sanctions against the central bank. Given the faster-than-expected ramp up in oil production in late 2011, we expect to see a strong rebound in growth in Libya’s hydrocarbon economy in 2012. However, despite an ample financial arsenal and large-scale reconstruction needs, a lack of institutional capacity and a tenuous security environment mean that growth in non-hydrocarbon sectors will lag.
Headline Industry Data
Per capita food consumption is forecast to grow by 12.3%. To 2016, per capita food consumption is forecast to grow at a compound annual rate of 8%.
Mass grocery retail sales are forecast to increase by 26.6% in 2012. To 2016, compound annual growth of 15.70%.
Key Regional Company Trends Casino and Al Meera Investing In Retail – In February 2012, French retailer Casino signed a joint venture agreement with Qatari retail group Al Meera Holding, with plans to open outlets in North Africa and Jordan. The joint venture, called ALGE Retail, is looking at expansion in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. It will be headquartered in Geneva, with Casino owning 49% and Al Meera 51%.
Dabur India To Establish New Manufacturing Plants – In February 2012, Fast-moving consumer goods major Dabur India announced it is set to make a INR1bn (US$20.1mn) investment for the establishment of new manufacturing plants in Africa over the next two years in a bid to expand its global footprint.
According to a company official, the fund will be utilised primarily to construct plants in places such as Morocco and Southern and Eastern Africa. The official added that the new plants will support its existing factories in Nigeria and Egypt.
Key Risks to Outlook Political Risks Remain Elevated – The risks to our current consumer outlook and to the wider market for food and beverages are mostly to the downside. Libya’s combination of oil wealth, tribal divisions, weakto- non-existent institutions and the prevailing security vacuum portend to significant instability and potential for violent conflict over the coming years. This will translate into a highly risky operating environment, which will continue to detract investment in new and existing capacities for food and beverage production.
In the meantime, the economy’s growth potential will remain dependent on three key variables: the speed and scale with which oil production can be brought back online; the state of the underlying security environment; and the state of the utilities sector – in particular, the provision of a stable supply of electricity.