Saudi petrochemical giant SABIC on Saturday announced fourth quarter net profits of 5.83 billion riyals ($1.55 billion), an 11.3 percent increase compared to 2011. But the company said 2012 net income had dropped by 15.5 percent to 24.72 billion riyals ($6.59 billion) from 29.24 billion riyals the year before. A statement attributed the increase in the fourth-quarter net to "higher sales volumes and sales prices for certain products." The decrease in yearly earnings was due to "higher costs of sales and lower sale prices for certain products, despite higher sales and production volumes and reduction in financial charges." It said full-year earnings per share dropped to 8.24 riyals from 9.75 riyals a year earlier. SABIC, the Saudi Basic Industries Corp, is the largest publicly traded firm in the Gulf and one of the world's major petrochemicals groups.