Petron suffers P4.9 billion net loss as pandemic lockdowns sap demand

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 27 2020 09:29 AM | Updated as of Jun 05 2020 05:01 PM

A gas station attendant fills up a customer's vehicle in Quezon City on April 27, 2020. Petron Corp said it suffered a net loss in the first quarter, as the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting global lockdowns sapped demand. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA -- Petron Corp said it suffered a net loss of P4.9 billion in the first 3 months of the year, as the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting global lockdowns sapped demand and caused crude prices to plummet.

The net loss in the first quarter was a reversal of the P1.3 billion net income during the same period in 2019. Revenues dropped 16 percent to P104.6 billion during the same comparable period, Petron said.

Petron implemented "strict cost-saving and cash
conservation measures" and activated a contingency plan for the pandemic, according to a stock exchange filing late Tuesday.

"As expected, domestic consumption has gone down particularly in retail and aviation which is understandable because of travel bans and restrictions,” said Petron President and CEO Ramon Ang.

"Business is challenging. We have to be more prudent in managing our resources while ensuring that the needs of our customers are still met," he said.

Petron said its Bataan Refinery had been on a scheduled maintenance shutdown since May 5, which would help offset the impact of low demand and poor refining margins.

Supply is enough, which will be replenished through importation of finished products, it said.

Demand recovery will depend on the lifting of quarantine restrictions, Ang said. The first quarter results only captured the first 2 weeks of the lockdown or enhanced community quarantine that started in mid-March.

Metro Manila and surrounding urban centers are under a modified ECQ until May 31. President Rodrigo Duterte is to decide this week whether or not to further loosen movement curbs and shift to a general community quarantine or GCQ.

The lockdown also caused the first contraction in 22 years for the Philippine economy, which is poised for a recession or 2 successive quarters of negative growth.