Industries Qatar (IQ), a holding entity of Qatar Petrochemicals, Qatar Fertiliser, and Qatar Steel, has reported a solid 56% year-on-year jump in net profit to QR2.5bn in the first half of 2018.
Earnings per share for review period stood at QR4.15 compared to QR2.66 in the corresponding period of 2017. The results are also well ahead of the group budget expectations for 2018, IQ said.
Improved product prices, stable sales volumes, efficiently managed operating assets base, and continued focus on cost improvements were the driving forces behind its performance, IQ said in a statement.
Revenue jumped significantly by 50% to QR3.0bn, following a combination of moderate improvement in sales volumes and selling prices.
On the other hand, on a like-for-like basis, management reporting revenue – assuming proportionate consolidation – was QR8.1bn, up 24% over 2017 due to the combined effect of improved prices and volumes versus the previous year.
The group’s sales volumes moderately improved on last year, despite a number of planned and unplanned shutdowns in some facilities.
Polyethylene sales improved through higher production, as the segment was on an extended unplanned shutdown during the first half of 2017, specifically during Q1 of last year. 
Recovery in global demand has aided the group’s fertiliser segment, while the sales of steel products have improved due to the change of geographical mix, IQ said.
Product prices across most segments moderately increased versus the same period of 2017. Polyethylene prices have started to stabilise, while fuel additive prices have improved notably compared to last year. 
The stability of crude oil prices has supported both polyethylene and fuel additive prices to remain strong throughout the year.
Fertiliser prices have shown a modest rise driven by tightening of supplies, and a general recovery in demand. Steel prices remain strong as prices in the current year have steadily risen. 
Increase in raw materials costs and resurgence of demand in some geographies were the key factors those contributed to the increase in the steel prices, IQ said.
The group’s financial position remains solid as cash across the group stands at QR10.2bn after paying 2017’s dividend of QR3.0bn, with periodic debt payments amounting to QR0.3bn.
Total debt across the group now stands at QR0.2bn, down from QR0.5bn as at December 31, 2017. 
Migration of steel marketing, sales and distribution to Qatar Chemical and Petrochemical Marketing and Distribution Company (Muntajat) assumed responsibility to market, sell, and distribute the group’s steel products with effect from May 1, 2018. 
With this agreement, Muntajat assumes the sole responsibility of marketing the group’s entire sales volumes. The group expects to benefit significantly from this arrangement via realising greater synergies, cost improvements, and access to a wider geographical network.
Rating agency Moody’s Investors Service has affirmed its A1 rating for IQ and changed the outlook to stable from negative.