Shanghai Petro 2003 Net Up 53% On Strong Prices

Hong Kong, March 28 | Updated: Mar 29 2004, 05:30am hrs
Chinas top ethylene producer, Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co Ltd, said on Sunday its 2003 net profit jumped nearly 53 per cent as demand from booming China hiked petrochemical prices.

The firm, a unit of Asias largest refiner Sinopec Corp, is expected to continue to benefit from firm demand this year as it rides an upturn in the cyclical petrochemicals. Its earnings are expected to surge nearly 50 percent in 2004.

The growth of Chinas domestic demand for petrochemical products is expected to remain relatively strong, the firm said.

Shanghai Petrochemical posted a net profit of 1.40 billion yuan ($169 million), in line with market estimates and compared to 916.37 million yuan a year ago.

Its second-half net profit rose 29 percent to 915.9 million yuan, based on Reuters calculations. The Shanghai-based firm said in January it expected its 2003 net profit to rise by about 50 per cent from a year ago as strong demand from China, the worlds largest importer of plastic resins, drove up domestic prices for petrochemical products.

Chinas thirst for petrochemicals is fuelled by an economy that grew 9.1 per cent last year. The firm made 948,300 tonne of ethylene in 2003, up nearly 19 per cent from 2002.

It plans to produce about 950,000 tonne in 2004. Ethylene is the basic building block for manufacturing petrochemicals used in plastics.

Shanghai Petrochemical also processes crude oil into synthetic fibres, resins and plastics, intermediate petrochemicals and petroleum products.

During the year, the weighted average prices of its four major products synthetic fibers, resins and plastics, intermediate petrochemicals and petroleum products rose between 11.5 per cent and 16 per cent.