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By:  Ronnel W. Domingo 

Phoenix Petroleum Philippines Inc. dived to net loss of P215 million in the first quarter of 2020 from a profit of P415 million in the same period last year, no thanks to the oil price crash, higher operating expenses and the impact of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Following this, the Davao-based oil firm announced that Dennis Uy—its former chief executive—is now chair and chief strategy officer.

Henry Albert Fadullon, Phoenix’s erstwhile chief operating officer, was elected president in their annual stockholders’ meeting held last week.

Former company chair Domingo Uy is now chair emeritus and keeps a seat in the board of directors.Considering its first-quarter showing, Phoenix slashed its cash requirements by at least P2.3 billion this year compared to original 2020 plans.

Of the amount reduced, P1.5 billion represented a cut in capital expenditures while P800 million were savings from marketing, advertising and travel as Phoenix shifts resources from traditional channels to digital.

“We were not spared but we were able to navigate the downturn better because of our earlier investments in strategic, higher margin areas such as retail and LPG (liquefied petroleum gas),” Uy said in a statement, describing their performance in the quarter ended March 31.

“Our portfolio today is more diversified, with LPG particularly thriving in this pandemic,” Uy said. “From a non-essential item in the kitchen, LPG became an essential household product, especially during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).”

Phoenix saw its Ebidta fall 64 percent year-on-year to P503 million from P1.4 billion while consolidated revenues decreased by 9 percent as average selling prices tracked the movements in global oil prices.

Further, full consolidation of Phoenix’s LPG business in Vietnam pushed up operating expenses by 6 percent.

According to Phoenix, its supply chain remained “100-percent online” while 95-percent of retail sites and LPG outlets were open, and 60 percent of FamilyMart stores were operating.

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