Saudi Basic Industries Corp (Sabic) posted SR6.04bn ($1.61bn) in net profit in the second quarter of 2013, a year-on-year increase of 13.9 per cent. The results are slightly below analysts’ estimates, who were expecting an increase of 19 to 25 per cent.

Net income over the first half of this year totalled SR12.61bn. Sabic’s second quarter income was 7.93 per cent lower than that reported in the first quarter of 2013.

The company attributed the year-on-year increase to lower cost of sales and financial charges, despite reduced revenues as a result of lower sales prices for some products.

According to Middle East projects tracker MEED Projects, Sabic has $8.1bn-worth of major investment projects planned or under way in the kingdom. Most of these are focused on speciality chemicals, creating products that can then be used to supply multiple downstream industries, including automotive, consumer electronics and plastics sectors.

Sabic aims to scale back operations in Europe, which will lead to closures of some non-profitable plants and a cut in its workforce. This would, however, free up capital to invest in new markets.