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First quarter earnings reported by Saudi Arabia’s 14 Tadawul-listed petrochemicals companies show continued damage from the recent oil price slide. Companies are investing for the upturn, however, in this “cyclical” market.
Petrochemicals companies listed on the Saudi stock exchange report combined earnings of SR4.37bn ($1.17bn) in the first quarter of 2015, down by 53.1% on the same period last year and 31.4% lower than for the fourth quarter of 2014.
While dwindling earnings reflect continued damage from the 50% plunge in benchmark crude oil prices since mid-2014, the market value of the petrochemical companies has proved more resilient. Total market capitalization of the 14 companies has declined by only 2.2% since the end of 2014 (see table). Despite being protected by bulk and diversity of operations, global petchems giant Sabic reported a 39% fall in quarterly earnings year-on-year, with a 9.9% fall from the previous quarter. Acting CEO Yusuf al-Binyan – appointed after long-standing chief Muhammad al-Mady was switched to running the Saudi military equipment supplier (MEES, 20 February) – says the company is planning for the market’s recovery.
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