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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 25 — Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd (PetChem)’s net profit for the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2022 (Q3 2022) slipped to RM1.90 billion from RM1.96 billion in the same quarter last year due to softer margins and lower contributions from joint ventures and associates.

However, its revenue rose 22 per cent to RM7.03 billion from RM5.77 billion previously on the back of higher average product prices amid a stronger US dollar, coupled with improved production and sales volumes.

On a cumulative nine-month basis, revenue jumped 26 per cent to RM20.25 billion while net profit expanded 11 per cent to RM5.84 billion against the same period last year.

Managing director/chief executive officer Mohd Yusri Mohamed Yusof said product prices remained elevated in the third quarter, supported by high crude oil and energy prices, though lower than in the second quarter.

He noted that production and sales volumes improved during the quarter with the plant utilisation rate improving to 97 per cent from 72 per cent in the second quarter. About 70 per cent of PCG’s production is exported within the Asia Pacific region, with Southeast Asia making up about 40 per cent.

“While the stronger US dollar boosted our revenue, we faced margin pressures as a result of higher operating costs.

“We are seeing softening demand, particularly for polymer products, as the high cost of energy persists amid extended Covid-19 lockdowns across China,” he said in a statement.

“Having declined to 2021 levels in recent weeks, the prices of olefins and derivatives are expected to moderate further until the easing of restrictions in China.

“However, urea prices are expected to remain high between US$550 (US$1=RM4.46) per metric tonne to US$700 per metric tonne as energy prices remain elevated due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war,” he added. — Bernama