MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Arabia's National Industrialization Co (Tasnee) made a profit for the second consecutive quarter as a reduction in feedstock costs and higher sales offset the sustained impact of depressed product prices, said Reuters.
Petrochemical firms in the kingdom have been struggling for the last two years as lower oil prices have weighed on product prices in their industry. Tasnee posted losses in every quarter in 2015 as well as the first three months of this year.
A concerted restructuring effort by the company, which focused on improving efficiencies and cost cutting which resulted in it shedding more than 25 percent of its global workforce, had already helped Tasnee return to profit in the second quarter.
The improvement extended into the third quarter as Tasnee recorded a profit of 122.2 million riyals (USD32.6 million), according to a bourse filing.
Shares in Tasnee, which has interests in petrochemicals, metals and chemicals and is one of the world's largest producers of titanium dioxide through its Cristal subsidiary, ended Tuesday down 10 percent despite the profit.
Chief Executive Mutlaq al-Morished denied a Bloomberg report that the company had stopped making payments on a USD1 billion loan.
In an interview with Al Arabiya television he said Tasnee had begun informal talks with local banks to refinance the loan at better terms, as it had done with a 7 billion riyal facility for Cristal earlier this year, with negotiations set to last at least six months.
The profit compared to a loss of 296.3 million riyals in the prior-year period, while the average forecast of three analysts polled by Reuters was 114.9 million riyals. The company is moving forward with projects in Jizan and Hail, despite delays, Morished told Reuters on the sidelines of a company event.
He attributed the hold-up of an ilmenite smelting plant in Jizan industrial city to technology issues, requiring a re-engineering of the design. "When you start a new technology, you run into teething problems. We're going through teething problems," said Morished. The first furnace is expected to start production in the first half of 2017, while the second would begin in the third quarter.
In Hail, he said delays were due to complications associated with the projects' remote location. There are plans for some of the six or seven Tasnee plants in Hail to start commercial production in the first quarter of 2017, he said. The rest will start throughout 2017.
As MRC informed earlier, in 2014, Tasnee entered into an agreement to increase its stake in titanium dioxide (TiO2) producer Cristal.
Headquartered in Riyadh, Tasnee is primarily engaged in petrochemical, chemical and industrial projects. The
company produces petrochemical products, including polypropylene, polyethylene and acrylic acid, as well as other downstream petrochemical products.