Saudi Basic Industries Corp (Sabic) is seeking acquisitions to strengthen its fertiliser business and could announce purchases in the chemicals and polymers sectors by the end of the third quarter, said its acting chief executive.
The fertiliser purchases would be outside the kingdom and cover ammonia, urea and specialty urea products, Yousef Abdullah Al-Benyan said in an interview on the sidelines of a news conference.
The company, one of the world's largest petrochemicals firms, is also evaluating whether to sell some of its assets in its polymers and specialty business, with a decision expected by the end of the year.
Al-Benyan said any divestments would most likely happen in Asia and the US.
Meanwhile, sales at Sabic dropped 12.4 percent in the first quarter of 2016, said Al-Benyan, adding that the firm had slashed costs at its steel unit to cope with a slowdown in the sector.
Total sales at the company, one of the world's largest petrochemicals firms, were SR31.15 billion ($8.31 billion) in the three months to March 31, compared with SR35.56 billion in the corresponding period of 2015.
Sabic had reported on Monday a 13.2 percent year-on-year drop in net profit for the first quarter, with earnings dragged down by lower average selling prices for its products and a SR725 million loss at its metals business.
Yousef Abdullah Al-Benyan told a news conference in Riyadh that Sabic had cut costs at Hadeed, its steel business, by 17 percent in the first quarter versus the final quarter of 2015. He didn't elaborate.