April 28 (Reuters) - Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), the world’s fourth-biggest petrochemicals company, reported a 38 percent drop in first-quarter net profit due to lower average selling prices, missing analysts’ expectations.
SABIC made a net profit of 3.41 billion Saudi riyal ($909 million) in the three months to March 31, down from 5.51 billion riyals in the year-earlier period, the company said in a bourse statement on Sunday.
Analysts expected SABIC to make a net profit of 3.98 billion riyals in the first quarter, according to the average of estimates of five analysts polled by Refinitiv.
SABIC said average prices decreased by 8 percent quarter-on-quarter, driven by slowing global demand, a slow start to the year and relatively high level of inventories.
It expected SABIC’s performance to be in line with trends in the global petrochemical industry, even though it cautioned that global economic growth will be lower this year.
The company’s results are closely tied to oil prices and global economic growth because its products - plastics, fertilisers and metals - are used extensively in construction, agriculture, industry and the manufacturing of consumer goods.
Saudi national oil giant Aramco last month reached an agreement with the Public Investment Fund to buy its controlling stake in SABIC for $69.1 billion. ($1 = 3.7508 riyals)
Reporting by Saeed Azhar; editing by Richard Pullin