Petron sees narrow net loss in 2021

Petron Corp. is expecting a slight improvement in its bottom line year as the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic continues to hamper domestic demand for petroleum products, its top executive said on Thursday.

“We’re still expecting a net loss for 2021 but not as huge as in the previous year,” Ramon Ang, Petron president and chief executive officer, said in Filipino.

Earlier, the listed oil company reported a net loss of P11.4 billion in 2020 against the P2.3 billion net income booked a year ago.

Consolidated revenues plummeted by 44 percent to P286 billion from P514.4 billion, “reflecting the impact of the pandemic on Petron’s financial performance.”

Yet Petron’s oil business in Malaysia is doing “much, much better” than in the Philippines. “Fuel demand in Malaysia remained the same. Demand only decreased when total lockdown was imposed. Once Malaysia’s economy reopened, it returned to a strong fuel demand,” Ang said in Filipino.

Ang expressed confidence that San Miguel Corp., the parent firm of Petron, can withstand the Covid-19 pandemic.

“San Miguel has a strong balance sheet. San Miguel as a whole is strong. There won’t be problem on our end should the situation persist in the coming years,” he told reporters in Filipino.

“Filipino people will be greatly affected by the pandemic. The demand for food and other services will be affected. Everybody will be affected by this crisis,” he added in Filipino.

Ang also noted the low demand in electricity and fuel. We all thought our lives will improve this year. We were wrong. This year will not really improve compared to last year,” he said partly in Filipino.

Unless the vaccine doses for Covid-19 arrive, Ang said the Philippine economy will not improve this year and in the next.

The company executive also appealed to the government to allow the private sector to procure vaccines for their employees.

Still, Petron would push ahead with the expansion of its retail network.

Petron shares rose by 4 centavos or 1.28 percent to close at P3.16 each on Thursday.