DUBAI: Saudi petrochemical companies reported a jump in first-quarter earnings as prices for key products rose on recovering global demand.
SABIC Agri-Nutirents, the SABIC unit formerly known as SAFCO, said net profit surged 39 percent to SR423 million ($112.7 million) on sales that doubled to SR1.51 billion. It said both sales and prices rose over the period. The shares gained 0.7 percent in early afternoon trade in Riyadh.
Meanwhile Advanced Petrochemical Company reported a 64 percent jump in first quarter net income to SR171 million.
It attributed the improved performance to a 36 percent rise in polypropylene sales.
The stock was up by more than 2 percent.
The company earlier this month agreed a deal to build two new plastics plants in Jubail at a total cost of $485 million.
Saudi Arabia, already one of the world’s biggest suppliers of petrochemicals and fertilizers, has stepped up spending in the sector as it adds investments in higher value industries and reduces its overall reliance on crude oil sales.
Global polypropylene consumption is on the rise led by soaring demand from the packaging sector that has been supported by the increase in online shopping during the pandemic. Demand for the material is also on the rise in the auto sector as more metal parts are replaced in the quest for lighter electric vehicles.