Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) announced yesterday a net profit of U.S. $372.3 million for the first quarter of this year. This represents a 360 percent increase over the $81 million posted for the first three months of 2002. The increase is attributed to a rise in the prices of most of the company's products as well as an increase in the volume of its sales. Overall production increased 19.5 percent to 10.4 million tons from 8.7 million tons and sales were up 8.8 percent to 7.4 million tons from 6.8 million tons. In April last year, SABIC acquired the petrochemicals operations of the Dutch chemicals group DSM in a deal worth $2 billion, and this company has been renamed SABIC Europe. SABIC's market capitalization exceeds $4 billion and the group has total assets of more than $24 billion. It operates 93 factories in Saudi Arabia producing mainly petrochemical products.
SABIC's Board of Directors today announced dividends of SR 1.5 billion ($0.40 billion) to company shareholders at the rate of SR 5 per share, and bonuses to members of its executive committee. Addressing the general assembly meeting, SABIC's newly-appointed chairman Prince Saud bin Thunayan Al-Saud commented on his pleasure at the appointment, and expressed gratitude to his predecessor Dr. Hashim Yamani for "his wise counsel and enthusiastic support that has made SABIC what it is today".