Saudi petroleum giant SABIC's net profits fall in 2016
RIYADH - Saudi petrochemical giant SABIC's net profits fell almost five percent last year, in part due to lower sales prices, the firm announced Wednesday.
Petrochemical prices are influenced by trends in global crude prices, which recovered in 2016 after a fall the previous year.
SABIC, one of the world's largest producers of petrochemicals, fertilisers, plastics and metals, is the largest publicly traded firm in the oil-rich Arab states of the Gulf.
The company's net profit drop of 4.95 percent last week compared with a sharp fall of almost 19 percent for 2015.
In a statement to the Saudi Stock Exchange, SABIC reported net profits of 17.84 billion riyals ($4.76 billion) against 18.77 billion riyals the previous year.
SABIC blamed "lower average sales prices" for the fall in net income for the period ending December 31.
It also cited an increase in "zakat" provisions, or religious alms giving, as well as an additional impairment against its Arabian Industrial Fibres Co affiliate.
Global crude prices have stabilised above $50 a barrel after OPEC and non-OPEC countries agreed late last year to jointly cut production.
Prices collapsed from above $100 a barrel in 2014 before rallying from around $30 at the beginning of 2016.
Saudi Arabia is the world's biggest oil exporter but companies like SABIC reflect the direction the kingdom aims for as it diversifies its industrial, business and investment base under reforms launched last year.