Saudi petrochemicals giant posts rare loss

SABIC posts loss of $192 million in last three months of 2019 after its revenues fell by 18.5 percent.

RIYADH - Saudi petrochemicals giant SABIC said on Wednesday it posted a rare loss in the fourth quarter of last year, due to low prices and the allocation of a huge emergency provision.

SABIC, the second-largest listed firm in the kingdom after oil giant Aramco, said it posted a loss of $192 million in the last three months of 2019 after its revenues fell by 18.5 percent.

The company, in which Aramco acquired a 70-percent stake for $69 billion last year, said it has also made a $747 million impairment provision in support of one of its affiliates which is undergoing restructuring.

SABIC posted a profit of $859 million in the fourth quarter of 2018.

"Despite an uptick in Brent oil prices in the fourth quarter, the results were negatively impacted by a further decline in petrochemical prices driven by oversupply in the key products and slowing global growth coupled with seasonal impacts," the company said in a statement.

For the whole of 2019, SABIC net profit dropped a massive 74 percent, the company said, also citing lower prices and allocation of emergency provisions.

The company said it posted a net profit of $1.5 billion in 2019 compared to $5.74 billion in the previous year.

Its revenues dropped almost 19 percent to $32.5 billion last year from $40.1 billion in 2018.

"The petrochemical industry was negatively impacted in 2019 by additional new supply in key products coming on-stream coupled with a moderation in global growth compared to 2018," SABIC CEO Yousef Abdullah al-Benyan said in a statement.