Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), one of the world’s largest petrochemicals groups, reported a 39 per cent drop in first-quarter net income on Sunday that was not as large a fall as analysts had forecast.
SABIC made a net profit of SAR3.93 billion ($1.05 billion) in the three months ending March 31, down from SAR6.44 billion in the year-earlier period, the company said in a bourse statement.
This was above the average forecast of seven analysts polled by Reuters, who had predicted SABIC would make a quarterly profit of SAR3.50 billion.
SABIC, which is 70 per cent state-owned, attributed the profit fall to lower average sales prices.
The company’s results are closely tied to oil prices and global economic growth because its products – plastics, fertilisers and metals – are used extensively in construction, agriculture, industry and the manufacturing of consumer goods.
Lower oil prices adversely affected SABIC’s earnings in the final quarter of 2014 and the company warned in January that 2015 earnings would be unpredictable, with challenges especially prominent in the early part of the year.