Petrochemical firms’ profits down 34% to SR6.43 billion in Q1

Updated 29 April 2015

Petrochemical firms’ profits down 34% to SR6.43 billion in Q1

Net profits of the listed Saudi petrochemical firms dropped by 34 percent to SR6.43 billion in the first quarter of the current year compared to SR9.81 billion in Q1, 2014, according to a financial report.
Similarly, revenues of the petrochem sector fell by 20 percent to SR57.49 billion compared to SR72 billion in the comparable period on the back of oil price fall, the report, filed by Al-Hayat daily, said.
As regards capitals of the petrochemical companies, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) had the biggest capital at SR30 billion, followed by Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Company (Saudi Kayan) at SR15 billion, Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Company (PetroRabigh) at SR8.76 billion, the National Industrialization Co. (Tasnee) at SR6.68 billion whereas Alujain Corporation has the least capital of SR692 million, the report said.
Referring to the performance of the firms in 2014, the report said that 8 companies out of 14 listed firms registered growth in their profits worth SR5.4 billion in Q1 whereas the remaining 6 companies registered losses of SR1.04 billion.
SABIC topped the sector companies to have registered the highest profits in Q1 at SR3.93 billion representing 73 percent of the sector profit growth. However, its profits dropped by 38.98 percent compared to profits of Q1, 2014, which stood at SR6.44 billion, the report said.
Saudi Arabian Fertilizer Company (SAFCO) was second biggest profit maker among the petrochem firms in Q1 when it achieved SR590 million. However, its profits dropped by 30 percent compared to profits of Q1, 2014, which stood at SR843 million, according to the report.
Yanbu National Petrochemical Company (Yansab) was the third company to have achieved the highest profits at SR285.1 million in Q1, 2015, compared to SR555.7 million in Q1, 2014, or a decrease of 48.7 percent.
Other companies achieved profits with varying degrees in Q1, 2015, compared to figures of the same period last year as follows: PetroRabigh SR205.4 million compared to SR413 million (- 50 percent), the Saudi Industrial Investment Group’s (SIIG) SR126 million compared to SR261 million (-52 percent), the National Petrochemical Company (PetroChem) SR101.8 million compared to SR141 million (-27.8 percent), the report said.
As regards companies sustaining losses in Q1, Saudi Kayan was the highest at SR561.6 million compared to its profits of SR9.94 million in Q1, 2014, followed by Tasnee at SR332.5 million compared to profits of SR321 million, and Sahara Petrochemicals at SR49.5 million compared to its profits of SR99.9 million, the report said.


Taps and reservoirs run dry as Moroccan drought hits farmers

Updated 22 October 2020

Taps and reservoirs run dry as Moroccan drought hits farmers

  • The problems caused by increasingly erratic rainfall and the depletion of groundwater are growing every year in Morocco

RABAT: Two years of drought have drained reservoirs in southern Morocco, threatening crops the region relies on and leading to nightly cuts in tap water for an area that is home to a million people.

In a country that relies on farming for two jobs in five and 14 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP), the problems caused by increasingly erratic rainfall and the depletion of groundwater are growing every year.

In the rich citrus plantations of El-Guerdan, stretching eastward from the southern city of Agadir, more than half of farmers rely on two dams in the mountains of Aoulouz, 126 km away, to irrigate their trees.

However, that water has been diverted to the tourist hub of Agadir, where mains water has been cut to residential areas every night since Oct. 3 to ensure taps in households did not run entirely dry.

“The priority should go to drinking water,” Agriculture Minister Aziz Akhannouch said in parliament last week.

In El-Guerdan, Youssef Jebha’s crop of clementine oranges has been compromised by reduced water supply, he said, which affects both the quality of fruit and the size of the harvest.

“The available ground water is barely enough to keep the trees alive,” said Jebha, who is head of a regional farmers’ association.

“Saving Agadir should not be at the expense of El-Guerdan farmers,” he added, speaking by phone.

‘We hope for rain’

El-Guerdan is not alone in facing drought. Morocco’s harvest of cereals this year was less than half that of 2019, meaning hundreds of millions of dollars of extra import costs.

Despite lower production, Moroccan exports of fresh produce have risen this year by 8 percent. 

Critics of the government’s agricultural policy say such sales are tantamount to exporting water itself, given the crops use up so many resources.

A report by Morocco’s social and environmental council, an official advisory body, warned that four-fifths of the country’s water resources could vanish over the next 25 years.

It also warned of the risks to social peace due to water scarcity. In 2017, 23 people were arrested after protests over water shortages in the southeastern city of Zagora.

In January the government said it would spend $12 billion on boosting water supply over the next seven years by building new dams and desalination plants.

One $480 million plant, with a daily capacity of 400,000 cubic meters, is expected to start pumping in March, with the water divided between residential areas and farms.

Until then, “We hope for rain,” the agriculture minister said in parliament.

In El-Guerdan, the farmers are digging for water. A new well costs $20,000-30,000. However, “there is no guarantee water can be found due to the depletion of ground reserves,” said Ahmed Bounaama, another farmer.