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Description of SABIC, its products, services and business environment

Established in 1976, SABIC (Saudi Basic Industries Corp.) has noted significant growth. The company is among the global leading petrochemicals manufacturers. SABIC is a publicly owned firm, but the Saudi government controls a 70% stake of the company. Private investors from the Gulf region claim 30% of the company. The company was established through a Royal decree. Since then, it has expanded to more than 50 countries and currently employs over 40,000 employees to support its operations globally (Saudi Basic Industries Corp., 2016).

SABIC is organized into multiple business divisions, consisting of “Chemicals, Plastics, Agri-Nutrients, Metals and Specialties” (Saudi Basic Industries Corp., 2016, p. 1). An Executive Vice President leads each unit. These various divisions focus on specific products, including “chemicals, metal, specialties, agri-nutrients, and plastics such as polyolefins, PET, PS, PVC, and engineering thermoplastics” (Saudi Basic Industries Corp., 2016, p. 1).

The company’s corporate offices and headquarters are in Riyadh while its main industrial complexes are situated in “Al-Jubail located in the Arabian Gulf and Yanbu on the Red Sea” (Saudi Basic Industries Corp., 2016, p. 1). The company is currently focusing on rapid global expansion. This growth strategy is anchored on complementing the expansion of “offices, distribution centers, infrastructures and production facilities, as well as storage facilities globally” (Saudi Basic Industries Corp., 2016, p. 1). As such, SABIC can respond swiftly to its global clients.

SABIC has facilities for manufacturing, technology, sales, and innovation spread across the “Americas, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Asia” (Saudi Basic Industries Corp., 2016, p. 1).

SABIC massively invests in Technology and Innovation (T&I) for its operations and expansion. The company’s T&I centers can be found in various locations globally. Dedicated qualified researchers run these facilities to sustain the development of new patents and certifications (Saudi Basic Industries Corp., 2016).

SABIC operates in a highly competitive business environment. The oil market is currently extremely volatile while the overall global economy displays some elements of slowdown. These are structural issues, such as changes in the competitive landscape, variations in world trade relations, and enhanced petrochemical self-sufficiency among major manufacturers. The fracking technology responsible for the energy renaissance in the US is a significant development in the industry. It has resulted in low prices, making the US fracking technology the most cost-effective method to produce oil and gas and subsequently become competitive globally.

Further, the major challenge perhaps could be variations in terms of global trade. Most countries now form economic trading blocs. These agreements result in critical decisions that affect Gulf producers and their markets. Besides, competition also emanates from other oil-producing countries, such as Russia.

Nevertheless, SABIC is optimistic amidst low global oil prices and believes that it can compete effectively in the global market (French & Sayegh, 2016). The forecast for the petrochemical industry indicates that it would remain positive because of Saudi’s government’s commitment to growth, growing demands, and investments in environmental management. In addition, SABIC continuously focuses on innovation, sustainability, leadership commitment, and high-value business chains to remain competitive in the global market. Today, SABIC is now the second biggest diversified petrochemical firm globally (Saudi Basic Industries Corp., 2016).

The Contents of the Annual Report

The contents of the annual report

SABIC fiscal annual report for the year 2015 has the following items.

Independent Auditors’ Report

This part provides the opinions of Ernst & Young as the independent auditors of SABIC. Ernst & Young clarifies the scope of the audit, its responsibilities, and SABIC management responsibilities. It also offers the unqualified opinion that the financial statements given present fairly the financial position of SABIC. The auditors show that the accounting standards used were in accordance with the Regulations for Companies and SABIC’s by-laws.

Consolidated Balance Sheet

This content captures what SABIC owns in terms of assets, what it owes – liabilities, and owners’ equity (the leftover).

Consolidated Statement of Income

The statement identifies SABIC’s sales and expenses, as well as its profits or losses for the given fiscal year (Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, n.d).

Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows

The statement of cash flows captures all sources, expenditures, and available cash as reflected on a monthly basis. Cash runs the business and, therefore, SABIC must have the cash flow for bills and other operational activities. It is imperative to recognize that a firm may be profitable but lacks sufficient positive cash flow.

Consolidated Statement of Changes in Shareholders’ Equity

This is also known as the Statement of Retained Earnings. It provides information on changes in owners’ equity for the given fiscal period. The Statement captures net profit or loss, changes in share capital reserves, any dividend payments to shareholders, earnings or losses associated directly with equity, impacts of changes in accounting policies and any corrections arising from the prior fiscal period.

Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements

Notes to the financial statements provide additional information for users of such statements. Contents are mainly specific details that cannot be covered within the reporting tables, including the income statements and the balance sheet. These notes offer clarity and substantiate the data reported.

It is imperative to recognize that SABIC financial statement leaves out Management Discussion and Analysis.

The company’s Capital Structure

These are mainly a mix of long-term debts, short-term debts, common equity and preferred equity, and they generally reflect how SABIC has been able to fund its general business activities and expansion strategies by relying on various investors and creditors. Specifically, short-term and long-term capital structures are assessed.

(Saudi Basic Industries Corp., 2016).

SABIC has been obtaining both short-term and long-term loan facilities to fund various investments. The company repays these facilities based on terms and conditions of loan agreements, including variable interest rates. In some instances, SABIC has pledged its plant, equipment, and property as collateral against these loans.

SIDF and PIF terms loans are paid twice every fiscal year. PIF facilities, however, have different financing approaches related to changes in interest rates. Conversely, SIDF loans attract upfront yearly administrative fees based on specific terms.

SABIC also relies on bonds to finance operations. For instance, in November 2015, the company repaid a five-year $1 billion bond. There were still some outstanding bonds, including SABIC Capital II B.V. The company intended to use proceeds (with the coupon of 2.625%) from this bond to repay long-term external debt.

SABIC Capital I B.V. issued a seven-year €750 million bonds (with a coupon of 2.75%), which was used to settle an earlier Eurobond of a similar amount.

By December 2015, SABIC offered guarantees for “bond and other specific term loans for its subsidiaries for Saudi Riyal 29 billion and further opted for PIF for private placement with unsecured SR (Saudi Riyal) debt notes of SR10 billion, but with several tranches” (Saudi Basic Industries Corp., 2015, p. 23). The company also opted for PIF for private placement with unsecured SR (Saudi Riyal) debt notes of SR10 billion, but with several tranches. These debt notes will mature after seven years from the day of issuance.

SABIC generally gets its short-term loans and guarantees, and long-term debts from banks and the Eurobond market respectively.

Financial Analysis

This section applies suitable financial ratios to evaluate the liquidity, profitability, and solvency of the company.

The Liquidity. Source: (Market Information Trading Co., 2016).

The current ratio for the last five years indicates that SABIC maintained the ratio beyond 2 and, therefore, it can meet its short-term obligations as they fall due on a given period.

This ratio significantly offers a fast means to assess the financial health of SABIC. Higher ratios are favored because they indicate high capabilities of paying off debts. That is, SABIC has a good fraction of asset values relative to its total current liabilities.

SABIC has also maintained quick ratios above 2 for the last five fiscal years. Thus, SABIC can fulfill its short-term obligations when required.

It is imperative to recognize that any ratio below 1 is a cause for concern about the liquid assets of the company and its ability to pay current liabilities. Whenever the acid/quick test ratio significantly becomes low relative to the current ratio, then it shows that the company’s current assets are highly leveraged by the inventory. This is however not the case at SABIC.

It is necessary for users of financial statements to assess other items, such as inventory turnover when the ratio is below one.

The Liquid Assets to Total Assets ratios for the company are above 20%, showing that SABIC has favorable liquid assets to its asset base. Hence, it is most likely not to experience any liquidity crisis.

However, some of these higher ratios show that SABIC is not using its cash efficiently to generate more income. In fact, the cash could be almost idle.

The Profitability. Source: (Market Information Trading Co., 2016).

Gross Profit Margin for the company is almost stable between 27% and 32%. Although this ratio has changed downwards since 2011, SABIC still has a good ratio. Hence, it makes profits of about 27 to 32 from every Riyal invested.

The net profit margin ratio has declined from 15.4 to 12.67 between the fiscal year 2011 and 2015.

SABIC still makes profits after all operating expenses, costs, taxes and any preferred stock dividends have been deducted, and the ratio shows that SABIC is good at transforming its revenues into profits for investors.

Return on Assets ratio shows a declining trend from 8.79% to 5.72% between the fiscal period 2011 and 2015. Hence, currently, SABIC is generating about 5.72 cents income from every Riyal it has in assets.

SABIC’s return on equity ratio has dropped from 21.9 in the financial year 2011 to 11.59 in the fiscal year 2015. While SABIC still generates significant cents from every Riyal invested, the downward trend is the cause of concern for potential investors.

The Solvency ratio / Leverage ratio. Source: (Market Information Trading Co., 2016).

SABIC has generally maintained high solvency ratio between the year 2011 and 2015. While this ratio has been declining from 104% to 73.1%, it is still considered high and therefore healthy. Firms with a solvency ratio above 20% are noted as fiscally stable, and they can meet their long-term obligations. On the other hand, a low ratio shows the greater risk to creditors and other lenders. Nevertheless, this ratio differs across industries.

SABIC equity ratio (investment leverage) indicates the percentage of assets financed by shareholders when total equity is compared against total assets. This ratio has increased from 41.48% in 2011 to 49.33 in 2015. From this ratio, one can observe two critical financial matters about SABIC sustainability and solvency status. First, this ratio assists investors to understand the percentage of assets entirely owned by shareholders. That is, once SABIC has cleared all its liabilities, investors will have 49.33% of the company’s assets. Second, the ratio reflects how leveraged SABIC is against its debts by showing the number of assets funded by shareholders or shareholders’ stake in the company. The current good equity ratio of SABIC shows that the Saudi government (the main shareholder) and other private shareholders have confidence in the firm and are prepared to fund it with their resources whenever necessary.

The debt to equity ratio shows the percentage of SABIC financing that emanates from banks and other creditors and investors. A higher ratio typically demonstrates that the company relies heavily on bank loans rather than shareholders to finance its operations. SABIC’s debt to equity ratio has declined over the year from 63.69% in the financial year 2011 to 36.61% in 2015. While the ratio is still high, the declining trend shows that SABIC now relies more on investors to finance its operations.

Suggestions as to how management would maintain the successful performance or take corrective actions to improve performance

The liquidity ratio

SABIC currently has a good liquidity ratio. It is however imperative for the company to ensure that the ratio stays above 1. A ratio below 1 indicates that the company cannot meet its short-term debt obligations. At the same time, the liquidity ratio should not be too higher (above 3). A higher ratio depicts that the company is not utilizing its cash well to generate more revenues.

Profitability ratio

SABIC is a profitable company. However, a major downward trend has been noted from 2011 to the present. This implies that the company profits continue to decline year-over-year. The management of SABIC must therefore focus on reducing costs of operations while increasing sales to maximize profitability. Any strategic decision should aim at maximizing profits today or in the future.

Solvency ratio

SABIC has a relatively high solvency ratio. Hence, lenders will be more willing to advance facilities to the company as opposed to firms with low ratios. It is imperative to understand that SABIC can simultaneously drive its profitability and keep a positive solvency position on a long-term basis. There is no need for SABIC to sell its assets to reduce overall debt, but SABIC can reviews the current business structure, focus on the further development of owners’ equity and continue to reinvest its earnings in operations and expansion strategies. The company should also focus on enhanced sales as the price of oil faces volatility. Consequently, it will drive high profitability and ensure better solvency.

The Company Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility

SABIC CSR are based on a simple mission. That is, the company strives to develop long-term programs with communities through direct investments to address environmental, social, and economic challenges while empowering employees to engage in such activities and share their expertise.

The company focuses on addressing socioeconomic issues, such as education, access to health, training, resource management, and access to food and clean water, as well as ensuring sustainable population growth.


SABIC understands that its employees are the most vital resources. As such, it aims to be the best employer by focusing on skills and leadership skills development among employees. The company has been voted the best employer in India for two consecutive years. It also promotes diversity among its employees.

In some instances, for example, in India, SABIC encouraged its employees and other community members to donate blood during the donation day.


SABIC directly invests in community initiatives to support local health, economies, and education in locations where it conducts business.

For instance, SABIC supports neglected health conditions in its health and wellness programs, such as mental and physical health.

In addition, water and sustainable agriculture program strive to nurture prosperous communities.

In education, the company promotes science studies and challenges learners to solve environmental issues while the Caravan program promotes learning of mathematics, innovation, IT, chemistry, and astronomy. SABIC Back to School Program focuses on 80,000 marginalized learners across 16 countries, including the UK, Tunisia, Kenya, India, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Mexico among others.


SABIC wants to ensure a prosperous community, which benefits from protected environments. As such, it promotes water conservation and the development of infrastructures to support enhanced food production for the growing population.

SABIC uses its technical expertise and innovation to ensure long-term access to clean water and create awareness on clean water and efficient usage.

SABIC’s global signature program is referred to as a waste-free environment. The Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) initiated this program to nurture and develop the idea of 3Rs. That is, reduction during manufacturing, re-use once used, and recycling of discarded waste materials. It currently focuses on South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and the Netherlands. The company teaches young people about plastic, reuse and the relevance of keeping a clean environment.

Recommendations and Conclusion

SABIC is one of the most successful petrochemical companies globally. The company has gained a competitive edge in the last four decades, owing to its technology and innovation, leadership commitment, and sustained investment. Today, however, some structural changes are taking place in the industry, and SABIC must respond to them appropriately. The following are recommended for the company.


  • Focus on deriving value from its chain through enhanced operational efficiency
  • Enhanced best business practices through sustained corporate social responsibility


  • With the entry of Iran in the global market, SABIC will face fierce competition regionally. Hence, it must develop highly innovative products to sustain its competitive edge
  • Oil price volatility requires the company to develop other products that can drive sales and revenues

Financial challenges

SABIC is financially healthy. However, its profitability ratio has declined steadily in the last five years. Therefore, the company should focus on cost-effective operations, revenue generation, investments and cheaper credit facilities.


French, D., & Sayegh, H. A. (2016). Saudi’s SABIC says can cope with more petrochemicals competition. Reuters. Web.

Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. (n.d). A Simple Guide to Your Company’s Financial Statements. Springfield, Illinois: Small Business Development Center.

Market Information Trading Co. (2016). Saudi Basic Industries Corp. Web.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (2015). Consolidated Financial Statement 2015. Web.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (2016). Our Company. Web.

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