Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), the largest producer of petrochemicals in the Middle East, reported yesterday that its net profits for the third quarter of 2004 had doubled as a result of higher world prices for its products – fertilizers, plastics and steel as well as petrochemicals – in addition to its own cost-cutting efforts. During the first nine months of 2004 SABIC earned a SR9.56 billion [U.S.$2.55 billion] net profit, a rise of 169 percent against the same period last year. SABIC shares ended yesterday's morning trading session - before the results were announced - at SR660.25, just off a year high of SR665.25 and well above a year low of SR321.
SABIC's product sales volume rose 12.6 percent while revenues climbed 31 percent to SR46 billion [$12.3 billion]. SABIC, 70 percent owned by the Saudi government, controls and operates 17 complexes in Saudi Arabia, some of them in joint ventures with foreign partners. It also has partners in three ventures in neighboring Bahrain. Two years ago it expanded into Europe, adding manufacturing complexes in the Netherlands and Germany. SABIC is Saudi Arabia's largest listed firm in terms of capitalization, which stands at SR198 billion [$52.9 billion], corresponding to 21.6 percent of the entire Saudi bourse.