Saudi Basic Industries Corporation’s (Sabic) net profits doubled in the third quarter of 2009 as commodity prices rose from cyclical lows at the beginning of 2009.

Sabic reported net profits of SR3.6bn ($959.9m) for the three months to 30 September, double the SR1.8bn it reported in the second quarter. The company attributed the increase to higher petrochemicals prices on world markets.

The company generated SR6.4bn revenues over the quarter, about 48 per cent down on the SR12.5bn it recorded in the same period of 2008.

Sabic’s net profits for the three months were still half the SR7.2bn that it reported in the third quarter of 2008. The company said changes in commodity prices affected its performance.

The basic plastics, high density polyethylene (HDPE) and low density polyethylene (LDPE), traded at $1,125 a tonne and $1,170 a tonne respectively on 9 October, according to Bahraini-based investment bank Sico. On the same day a year ago, HDPE traded at $1,400 a tonne and LDPE at $1,540 a tonne.

Both commodities reached a nadir of less than $800 a tonne in the first quarter.

HDPE’s average price for the year to date is $830 a tonne, while LDPE has averaged $860 a tonne, according to Sico.

Petrochemicals prices collapsed in the fourth quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009, as demand dried up.