17 September 2012 00:00 [Source: ICB]
Chemical producers in the Middle East and Africa continued to perform well financially in 2011, sustaining the strong improvement seen in 2010, after the severe declines experienced in 2009 brought about by the huge downturn in demand that year.
Turnover last year was bolstered by strong demand, rising prices and added capacity, with companies recording sales increases well into double digit percentages. Performance this year has not been so positive, and next year's ranking will inevitably reflect the struggles now being fought with lower demand around the globe, especially in the second half of 2012.
The table of regional Top 10 producers for 2011 remains largely the same, though. Only two positional changes have taken place. South Africa's Sasol has overtaken Iran's NPC to claim back the second slot, after the Iranian state company's lower than average top line growth in 2011. And Israel's polymers and aromatics producer Oil Refineries has been relegated from the Top 10 by the inclusion at No 8 of Petro Rabigh, the huge Saudi Arabian petrochemicals joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical. It recorded sales of $2.163bn putting it just behind Kuwait's Petrochemical Industries Co (PIC), which saw sales soar by 35.5% to $2.2bn to the year ended 31 March 2011.
Saudi Arabia's SABIC maintains its huge lead in terms of regional scale, nearly five times larger than its nearest rivals Sasol and NPC. SABIC saw sales increase 25% in 2011, to $5.06bn, not quite up to the 47% growth achieved in 2010 but still one of the best performances in the region. This figure puts it in sixth place in the overall ICIS Top 100 ranking (see last week's issue), the same position as in 2010.
Sasol comes in at No. 38 (up from 47 in 2010), and NPC at 44 (down from 39 in 2010). The only other Middle East and African producer that made it into the Top 100 for 2011 is Israel Chemicals (at 59, up from 66), although several others are now getting close - notably Saudi Arabia's Tasnee and Industries Qatar, the state-owned petrochemical (Qapco) and fertiliser (Qafco) major.
Industries Qatar saw sales soar by 42.1% in 2011, as prices were resilient across all key products, with an average 28% increase, and utilisation rates remained high. Further growth is expected in 2012, as extra urea and LDPE capacity comes onstream.
Tasnee would be even higher ranked if its Cristal titanium dioxide business were included as well as its petrochemicals and polymers, but it does not break out the figures from its industrial sector, which also includes metals and wire, batteries and manufactured goods. Total sales in 2011 were $5.24bn, up by 22.9% on 2010, placing it at No 77.
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