SABIC eyes Africa expansion as profits rise

A man walks past the headquarters of Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) in Riyadh. (Reuters)
Updated 28 October 2018

SABIC eyes Africa expansion as profits rise

  • Prices and volumes rise in third quarter
  • Global demand shows positive trend

LONDON: Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) is targeting investments in Africa as the petrochemicals giant taps rising demand for plastics worldwide.
The Riyadh-headquartered chemicals maker reported a 5.3 percent rise in third quarter net income to SR6.1 billion ($1.62 billion) on Sunday, which it attributed to better sales prices and volumes.
The world’s fourth-biggest petrochemicals company is looking for future investment opportunities in Africa, which is a promising market to maintain sales growth, Reuters reported citing its chief executive.
Yousef Al-Benyan also told reporters that the outlook for business in the US, Asia and China was still broadly positive despite some challenges relating to high energy prices.
The vast Saudi petrochemical industry is expected to experience a wave of consolidation this year with SABIC expected to be at the center of that process.
Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest national oil company, is working on buying a stake in SABIC, Aramco CEO Amin Nasser told the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh last week.
Hoever, anti-trust regulations will mean that the company’s planned acquisition of a controlling stake in SABIC is expected to take time, he said.
Petrochemicals are set to account for more than a third of the growth in world oil demand to 2030, and nearly half the growth to 2050, adding nearly 7 million barrels of oil a day by then, the IEA said.
“Our economies are heavily dependent on petrochemicals, but the sector receives far less attention than it deserves,” said Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director.
“Petrochemicals are one of the key blind spots in the global energy debate, especially given the influence they will exert on future energy trends. In fact, our analysis shows they will have a greater influence on the future of oil demand than cars, trucks and aviation.”
Demand for plastics – the key driver for the petchem industry – has outpaced all other bulk materials (such as steel, aluminum, or cement), nearly doubling since 2000, the agency estimates.


UBS fined $51 million by Hong Kong regulator for overcharging clients

Updated 11 November 2019

UBS fined $51 million by Hong Kong regulator for overcharging clients

  • Hong Kong regulator’s investigation exposed ‘serious systemic internal control failures’ at the bank
  • In March, the Securities and Futures Commission banned UBS from leading initial public offerings in Hong Kong for a year

HONG KONG: Swiss bank UBS was fined HK$400 million ($51.09 million) by Hong Kong’s securities regulator for overcharging up to 5,000 clients for nearly a decade, the watchdog said on Monday.
The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) said in a statement that an investigation found UBS had overcharged clients on ‘post-trade spread increases’ and charges in excess of standard disclosures and rates between 2008 and 2017.
THE SFC said the investigation exposed ‘serious systemic internal control failures’ at the bank. UBS had failed to disclose conflicts of interests and had overcharged some clients in ‘opaque’ trades, it said.
The overcharging affected 5000 Hong Kong managed client accounts in about 28,700 transactions, it said.
UBS has also agreed to repay the clients HK$200 million, the SFC said.
The regulator said the over-charging occurred in the bank’s wealth management division on bond and structured notes transactions.
UBS was found to have increased the spread charged after the execution of a trade without the clients’ knowledge, it said.
In the statement, the SFC said UBS was also found to have falsified some account statements which were issued to financial intermediaries who were authorized to trade for the clients to “conceal the overcharges.”
UBS said the issues were ‘self-reported’ to the SFC and the results found were against the bank’s standard practice.
“The relevant conduct predominantly relates to limit orders of certain debt securities and structured note transactions, which account for a very small percentage of the bank’s order processing system,” the bank said in a statement.
SFC chief executive Ashley Alder said while each “overcharge represented a fraction of each trade” the bank’s “misconduct involved decisions and a pervasive abuse of trust resulting in significant additional revenue for UBS to which it was not entitled.”
In March, the SFC banned UBS from leading initial public offerings in Hong Kong for a year after it found the bank, and some of its rivals, had failed to carry out sufficient due diligence on a number of deals.
UBS was fined HK$375 million while Morgan Stanley was fined HK$224 million, Merrill Lynch HK$128 million and Standard Chartered (StanChart) HK$59.7 million, all for failures when sponsoring, or leading, public market floats.