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PETRONAS Chemicals revenue up 26 percent in 2017

PETRONAS Chemicals revenue up 26 percent in 2017
From left: Datuk Sazali Hamzah, MD/CEO of PCG; Datuk Md Arif Mahmood, Chairman of PCG; Puan Rashidah Alias, CFO of PCG

PETRONAS Chemicals Group Berhad (PCG) registered strong financial performance for 2017. 

PCG’s revenue for 2017 rose by 26 percent reaching RM17.4 billion compared to RM13.7 billion in 2016. PCG’s EBITDA for 2017 increased by 25 percent to RM6.6 billion against RM5.3 billion in 2016. 

“PCG recorded its best ever performance in terms of revenue, profit after tax and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) since its listing in 2010," said Datuk Sazali Hamzah, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of PCG.

The Company’s solid performance for the year was driven primarily by higher production and sales volume.

PCG's Profit After Tax (PAT) for the year also grew by 37 percent to RM4.4 billion as compared to RM3.2 billion reported in the previous year.

For the year ended 31 December 2017, the Board of Directors declared a cumulative dividend of 27 sen per share which translate to a 52 percent dividend payout for the year. At RM2.2 billion, this is the highest payout for the Company.

Speaking at the post AGM media conference today, Sazali said that in 2017, despite the heavy statutory turnaround at four of its facilities, PCG sustained its plant utilisation rate above world-class standards at 91 percent.

This comes as a result of its rigorous operational excellence practices and feedstock management.

In addition, the company had also achieved product realisation from its growth project - PETRONAS Chemicals Fertiliser Sabah Sdn Bhd (PCFSSB), previously known as SAMUR.

The PCFSSB project contributed to the increase in production volume which grew by almost 10 percent to 10.1 million metric tonnes from 9.2 million metric tonnes previously.

For the year 2017, with additional volume from PCFSSB, PCG recorded its highest sales volume ever at 8.1 million metric tonnes compared to 7.3 million metrics tonnes in 2016.

Sazali further elaborated that the Group’s commercial excellence efforts and initiatives has enabled PCG to gain additional value for its products.

“While market was in recovery mode in 2017, we saw limited upside on the product prices as crude oil price remained volatile. Nevertheless, PCG saw encouraging demand for petrochemicals across all of our products,” he said.

Speaking to the media on PCG’s growth strategy, Sazali also reported on the progress of PCG’s three key projects.

1. Integrated Aroma Ingredients Complex

  • Project Update: The start-up of the new Integrated Aroma Ingredients Complex has been initiated in phases and is currently conducted in a step-wise approach.
  • Background: The Integrated Aroma Ingredients Complex in Gebeng, Pahang, is a joint venture project undertaken together with BASF through our associate company, BASF PETRONAS Chemicals Sdn Bhd. The Complex produces aroma ingredients namely Citral, Citronellol and L-menthol, to meet the high demand from the rapidly growing fragrance and flavour industries. The project, the first to use BASF’s technology outside Europe, marks PCG’s foray into the highly attractive niche and specialty play, which are less affected by cyclicality compared to commodity chemicals. Aroma ingredients are sold to the flavour and fragrance industry, mainly in home and personal care products and in the food industry as well as pharmaceutical applications.

2. Highly Reactive Polyisobutene (HR-PIB) Project

  • Project Update: HR-PIB has successfully come on-stream in January 2018.
  • Background: PCG had sanctioned the development and construction of the new world-scale HR-PIB plant at its associate company, BASF PETRONAS Chemicals Sdn Bhd, to add further value to its existing business at PETRONAS Chemicals MTBE Sdn Bhd in Gebeng, Pahang. Product functions include as intermediate product for the manufacturing of high-performance fuel and lubricant additives.

3. Petrochemical Project in Pengerang Integrated Complex (PIC)

  • Project Update: As at March 2018, the petrochemical project in the Pengerang Integrated Complex (PIC) development by PETRONAS, is progressing well on schedule at 74 per cent project completion while the overall PIC project is progressing at around 87 per cent overall project progress. On 28 March 2018, PCG concluded its shareholder agreement with ARAMCO for the divestment of its 50 per cent interest in PRPC Polymers Sdn Bhd.
  • Background: The Petrochemical Projects in PIC, which are scheduled to be operationalised in 2019, are significant growth projects for PCG to broaden its product portfolio and further diversify into derivatives, specialty chemicals and solutions, while expanding PCG’s existing production capacity.

Sazali shared that in terms of its business activities, 2018 will be similar to 2017.

PCG will continue to carry out its operational and commercial excellence initiatives in order to achieve the Company’s targets.

In general, a global economic recovery indicates good prospect for PCG given that its business is very much driven by increasing consumer demand, especially in the ASEAN region.

Coupled with the recently imposed tariff against US imports in chemicals as well as the new capacities coming on stream, PCG is well-positioned to meet the additional demand.

“The completion of PIC, as well as the current plants that we have, will provide a lot more opportunities to grow in the area of chemicals, derivatives and specialty chemicals," Sazali said. "Moving forward, PCG is set to stay at the forefront of the industry with the ability, resilience and determination to overcome challenges,” he added.

“We continue to assess further opportunities beyond 2020 in downstream derivatives and specialty chemicals at Pengerang, Kertih, Gebeng and East Malaysia. This is part of our long-term business positioning and sustainability,” he concluded.