* Q3 net profit 6.47 bln riyals vs 6.31 bln year-ago
* Sales for three months to Sept. 30 up 9 percent from a yr
* Follows profit gains by chemical firms globally
By Marwa Rashad
DUBAI, Oct 27 Higher sales helped Saudi Basic
Industries Corp (SABIC) post a rise in third-quarter
net profit on Sunday, in line with analyst forecasts, as the
chief executive officer said the outlook for next year was
"About the future outlook, I think 2014 will be similar to
2013 or slightly better," Mohamed al-Mady told a news conference
on Sunday after the company's results were posted on the website
of the Saudi bourse.
Mady said he expected petrochemicals demand in the U.S.,
China and Europe, SABIC's main markets, to grow next year as the
global economy improved.
The company's sales in the third quarter rose 9 percent to
48.8 billion riyals ($13 billion) over the same period in 2012,
with sales from the first nine months of this year unchanged
from last year at 140 billion riyals.
Net profit for SABIC, one of the world's biggest
petrochemicals groups and the largest listed company in the
Gulf, was 6.47 billion riyals in the three months to Sept. 30,
compared to 6.31 billion a year ago.
Nine analysts surveyed by Reuters had forecast SABIC would
earn, on average, 6.4 billion riyals for the third quarter.
SABIC plans a new Eurobond issue later this year, as the
company seeks to take advantage of low interest rates to
refinance its total debts of around 80 billion riyals, chief
financial officer Mutlaq al-Morished said.
The company has reduced its total debts by around 15 billion
riyals over the past nine months and plans to take on some of
the debt now held by its subsidiaries, he and Mady said.
The financial performance of SABIC, which makes
petrochemicals, metals and fertilisers, is closely tied to the
world economy because its products are used extensively in
construction, car manufacturing and other major consumer goods.
Other large chemical makers have seen their profits grow
sharply in the third quarter. Germany's BASF posted
better-than-expected quarterly profit after carmakers' demand
for catalytic converters and high-tech plastics helped offset
weak overseas currencies.
Dow Chemical's net income rose 20 percent, helped
mainly by its plastics, packaging, coatings and electronics
SABIC, which employs 40,000 people around the world, relies
heavily on natural gas as a raw material for its chemical
business, and is facing increased competition from the United
States where a shale gas boom has made new supplies available.
Last month, SABIC printed a $1 billion five-year bond, its
first since 2010, attracting commitments from investors worth
SABIC shares dipped 2.4 percent on Sunday on the profit
statement. They have gained 17 percent year-to-date.