In spite of the extremely challenging pandemic year, Uy-led Phoenix Petroleum Philippines Inc. was still able to post marginal income of P63 million last year primarily due its strong showing in the fourth quarter.

The oil firm said it logged P158 million net earnings in the fourth quarter reversing the losses in the initial nine-month period; but that pace of recovery on its profitability still falls way too short versus the P1.5 billion net income it logged in 2019.

“Phoenix Petroleum closed 2020 strong on the back of a 32-percent year-on-year growth in full year volume and improving market conditions, as global oil prices recovered and economic activities picked up in fourth quarter,” the company said.

As described by Phoenix Petroleum President and CEO Henry Albert Fadullon, “it was a strong finish to a challenging year.”

Nevertheless, he sounded off that for this year, “while vaccine developments are encouraging, the resurgence of the virus and the new rounds of lockdown may continue to dampen overall consumer confidence and industrial and commercial activities.”

To withstand the challenges posed by the pandemic, the oil firm noted that it pushed efforts to rationalize its operating expenses (opex) as well as capital expenditures (capex); and such cost-components declined by 38-percent overall.

“Improved working capital management, shorter cash cycle and refinancing initiatives strengthened its financial position with interest costs down by 28-percent and total borrowings lower from last year,” the company pointed out.

Fadullon emphasized “we have accelerated our structural transformation, reducing OPEX by 32-percent per liter,” with him stressing that “we delivered on our commitments and cut OPEX and capex similarly.”

The company chief executive said “we expect to continue to benefit from these operational improvements over time.”

On its overseas operations, Phoenix Petroleum indicated that its Singapore venture “was able to expand its external fuels and LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) sales during the year,” and that had been leveraged on the operations of the company in the Philippines.

Further, its LPG market in Vietnam was reported to have “almost tripled in volume during the year as the country became one of the fastest to recover from the pandemic.”

For its domestic volume, Phoenix Petroleum said its LPG sales had grown 32-percent year-on-year despite the contraction suffered by the industry.

It said that Luzon demand for LPG would still be coming off from a low base; while Visayas and Mindanao are on sustained double-digit growth; hence, Phoenix Petroleum opined that “domestic LPG is well positioned to capture opportunities not only in underpenetrated retail and commercial markets but also changing consumer behaviors post-pandemic.” (MMV)

Source: Manila Bulletin (