LG Chem has posted third-quarter earnings that have surpassed estimates, and that could prop full-year sales to record highs. Earnings in the first 9 months exceeded LG Chem’s 2008 profit as the cost of naphtha fell and China’s stimulus package spurred demand. Net income rose 83% from a year ago levels to 543 billion won (US$465 mln), higher than an average estimate of 525.2 billion won. Sales gained 5.6% to 3.8 trillion won in the 3 months ended Sept. 30 and may reach 16 trillion won in 2009.The petrochemicals division, which accounts for about 70% of the company’s revenue, posted a 63% gain in operating profit in the quarter. Sales growth may slow by value in the fourth quarter as prices of petrochemicals may decline on new capacities from China and supplies from the Middle East.