RIYADH - Saudi petrochemicals giant SABIC registered an 80 percent surge in profit in the second quarter of 2018 due to higher prices and sales, the company said on Sunday.

SABIC, the largest capitalised firm on the saudi bourse, said in a statement it posted a $1.79 billion (6.7 billion riyal) net profit for the three months to the end of June, compared to $0.99 billion in the same period of 2017. For the first half of 2018, net profit rose 36.5 percent to $3.25 billion, thanks to a 20 percent rise in sales to $22.7 billion and positive effects from restructuring, the statement said.

The state holds a 70 percent stake in SABIC, through the kingdom's Public Investment Fund. Saudi national oil company Aramco is in preliminary talks to buy the government's stake in SABIC, in order to diversify its own portfolio, in a deal which would be worth over $70 billion.