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Sabic to Boost R&D Spending, Supplementing Takeovers

Saudi Basic Industries Corp. plans to increase its spending on innovation and developing new products in-house to about $800 million annually, supplementing any diversification through acquisitions.

Over the next few years, spending on research and development will grow to more than 2 percent of sales from 1 percent currently, said Abdularahman al Ubaid, executive vice president of technology and innovation. The company reported sales of 150 billion riyals ($40 billion) last year.

Sabic, which last year bought General Electric Co.’s plastics unit for $11.6 billion, remains open to acquisition opportunities, the executive said. The company is building large R&D centers in India, China and Saudi Arabia. The move highlights Sabic’s aim to move beyond petrochemicals into more value-added products, in a challenge to BASF SE and Dow Chemical Co.

“It is not smart to invent everything in-house,” al Ubaid said in an interview in Dubai today. “Go and get the best knowledge and information around and use it. If there is an opportunity, we will study it,”

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