Saudi SABIC Q3 profit drops 23%

17.10.2012 -

Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), the world's biggest petrochemicals group by market value, posted a 23% slump in third-quarter net profit on Wednesday, citing lower product pricing for the decline.

The chemicals, metals and fertilizers conglomerate earned net income of 6.3 billion riyals ($1.68 billion) in the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with a record profit of 8.2 billion riyals a year ago, it said in a bourse statement.

Despite the decline, the performance beat analysts' forecasts. Nine analysts polled by Reuters had forecast on average that Saudi Arabia's largest listed company would earn 6.01 billion riyals in the quarter.

Several SABIC units had already reported their quarterly results, with Saudi Arabian Fertilizer (Safco) saying its net profit dipped 5.1%, and Yanbu National Petrochemical (Yansab) reporting a halving of income.

In 2011, SABIC enjoyed a bumper year of record profits and growth as new production lines started up and world chemical prices were buoyed by demand in Asia.

But as weak global economic conditions this year weighed on demand, product prices fell. SABIC also had temporary operational shutdowns at some plants.

SABIC is particularly vulnerable to world economic conditions because its products are used in so many industries globally, including construction and car manufacturing.

Analysts have said the outlook for next quarter is little better, but that the company should benefit in 2013 from the addition of significant new revenue from its Saudi Kayan unit, which will start full operations.