Saudi chemical giant SABIC posts another loss
Saudi petrochemicals giant SABIC on Monday posted its second quarterly loss in a row for the three months to March, blaming low prices and a slump in demand due to coronavirus.
SABIC, one of the world’s largest chemical firms, said it made a loss of 950 million riyals ($253 million) in the first quarter of 2020 compared to a net profit of $909 million in the same quarter last year.
SABIC, the second-largest listed firm in the kingdom after energy giant Aramco, logged a loss of $192 million in the fourth quarter last year.
It attributed the latest loss to “certain non-recurring charges, a challenging product-pricing environment and lower demand underpinned by COVID-19.”
It also set aside $290 million for a plan to suspend production at one of its chemical plants in Spain.
“Product prices remain challenged with no improvement in the supply/demand balance for key products in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the previous quarter,” chief executive Yousef Abdullah al-Benyan said in a statement.
“This was further aggravated by COVID-19 becoming a global pandemic and the significant decline in Brent (oil) price towards the end of the quarter,” he said.
SABIC, which was acquired by Saudi Aramco for $69 billion last year, saw its 2019 net profit slide 74 percent to $1.5 billion. In 2018, it posted a net income of $5.74 billion.