Higher oil prices and sales boost PetChem’s 4Q results 

by MARK RAO/FILE PIX

Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd improved its net profit by 1.3% to RM1 billion for the quarter ended Dec 31 last year (4Q17) from the RM987 million in 4Q16, boosted by higher oil prices and sales volume.

The largest chemical producer in Malaysia and downstream arm for Petroliam Nasional Bhd said its earnings grew in line with revenue which rose 20% year-on-year (YoY) to RM4.74 billion.

This is attributable to the higher production and sales volume achieved, largely contributed by the SAMUR downstream plant in Sabah which commenced operations in May last year, that helped offset a lower utilisation rate of 93% in 4Q17 than 96% achieved in 4Q16.

Meanwhile, overall average product prices improved in line with the higher crude oil price environment.

For the full financial year, net profit was up by 42.7% YoY at RM4.18 billion while revenue increased 25.6% to RM17.41 billion, despite overall plant utilisation lower over the year by five points at 91%.

Going forward, the company’s fiscal performance will be primarily influenced by global economic conditions, utilisation rates of production facilities and petrochemical product prices which are highly correlated to crude oil prices.

It added that it will continue with its operational excellence programme and supplier relationship management to sustain plant utilisation at above the industry level.

The company declared a 15 sen dividend in 4Q17 amounting to a total payout of RM1.2 billion which is to be paid on March 21 this year.