Al Benyan: ambitious plans for Sabic

Al Benyan: ambitious plans for Sabic

Sabic to grow through M&As

August 2017

Despite global challenges, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) is “very positive” about 2017 and is aiming to become the world’s third biggest petrochemical maker by growing its existing businesses and by making acquisitions.

The petrochemicals major is evaluating acquisition opportunities in the range of $3 billion to $6 billion in petrochemicals, specialty chemicals and fertilisers, according to Sabic chief executive Yousef Abdullah Al Benyan.

Sabic, which is majority state-owned, aims to do the first such deal in the fourth quarter of this year.

In petrochemicals it is targeting acquisitions in North America and China, and it is also exploring targets in Africa for fertilisers or agricultural nutrients.

Sabic is currently the world›s fourth-biggest petrochemicals company, but said acquisitions could push it into the top three behind Dow Chemical Co and BASF.

“There are some opportunities, they are in the range of $3-$6 billion,” Al Benyan said. “This is basically the starting point.”

The petrochemical maker reported an 80 per cent jump in net profit from a year earlier in the first quarter of 2017.

He said Sabic was very positive regarding economic growth in key markets the US and China, and was putting more focus on Africa and on emerging markets generally in the longer term.

“Overall, with what’s happening in China right now ... I think we are very positive on 2017, but our view is that the healthy recovery (in key markets) is going to be by end-2019 and beyond.”

Al Benyan said Sabic and Saudi Aramco were looking at finalising technology solutions and will reach “a very important milestone” within a few weeks with regards to their joint oil-to-chemicals (OTC) project, announced last June.

“The OTC is one of the largest growth (projects), we are going to produce probably more than 18 million tonnes of materials yearly,” he said.

Al Benyan said Sabic had no plans to raise new debt, but might consider refinancing.

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