Phoenix Petroleum shifts business focus to retail

Published July 4, 2020, 10:00 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

Fast-rising independent player Phoenix Petroleum Philippines Inc. indicated that it will be shifting its focus to the “retail segment” of the downstream oil industry, as it has been seeing this as a juicy core of the market moving forward.

“Retail is going to be the major force driving the business going forward,” Phoenix Petroleum President Henry Albert Fadullon said; as he noted that “we need to adapt our core business to changes and disruptions in markets.”

The trajectory being aimed for by the company, he said, is to have the retail segment expanded across its portfolio and make it as a “high growth, high margin brands over time.”

Latching on a commercial/business-to-business driven base, the oil firm emphasized that it generates around 45-percent of its domestic sales from growth businesses, such as its retail fuels and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), in addition to convenience retailing through Family Mart as well as its payment channels.

With 650 retail stations to-date, the company said it is all prepped for renewed growth as the Philippine economy re-opens following more than two months of strict lockdown from March to May.

For the LPG sector in particular, Phoenix noted this is “expected to grow alongside the increasing urbanization and purchasing power of Filipino households.”

And given the stay-at-home order during the coronavirus-linked enhanced community quarantine, Phoenix Petroleum reckoned that LPG was somehow proven to be a “Covid-resilient product”; as people’s prime concern for health and safety protocols had driven demand for this commodity primarily for households’ cooking needs.

“Against a backdrop of 7.0 to 8.0-percent industry growth, the company’s LPG business has grown over 20-percent on average every year post-acquisition,” the company said, in reference to the 2017 timeframe when it acquired its LPG business from Malaysian firm Petronas.

Phoenix Petroleum similarly emphasized that its Family Mart “found a niche in convenience food retailing and is now harnessing the digital opportunity by expanding its online presence via apps and deliveries.”

According to the company, the convenience store pivoted to food offers that are aligned with consumers’ preferences post-Covid, which are generally “menus refreshed with more options that are for sharing as well as frozen and with longer shelf life.”

Phoenix Petroleum said oil demand in the country is already at its recovery pace; and sales are now climbing back to pre-lockdown levels.