UPDATE 2-Saudi petrochemicals producer SABIC posts fivefold profit jump

(Adds CEO comment on cost of achieving net-zero carbon emissions)

DUBAI, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Petrochemicals giant Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) on Thursday reported a fivefold increase in third-quarter profit helped by higher average selling prices.

SABIC reported a post-tax profit of 5.6 billion riyals ($1.5 billion), up from 1.1 billion riyals a year earlier but missing a 6.1 billion riyal consensus from estimates by four analysts compiled by Refinitiv.

Revenue increased 49% to 43.7 billion riyals.

Net income was helped not only by higher average selling prices but also by an increase in its share of results from joint ventures and associates, SABIC said. Unlike the third quarter of last year, there were also no material impairments.

Despite the increase in average sales prices, there was a moderation in margins due to rise in feedstock costs, it said.

“SABIC’s healthy financial performance during the third quarter of 2021 marked a continuation of our recovery from the impact of COVID-19, albeit at a lower level than our exceptionally strong performance during the second quarter,” CEO Yousef Abdullah Al-Benyan said in a statement.

Al-Benyan later told reporters it will initially cost the company between $3 billion and $4 billion to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, having set the target this week.

SABIC is 70% owned by Saudi state-controlled oil producer Saudi Aramco. ($1 = 3.7508 riyals) (Writing by Alexander Cornwell Editing by David Goodman and Jason Neely)