Shell eyes sales volume rebound next year

Major oil firm Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation (PSPC) is looking forward to a rebound in its sales volume next year and go back to profitability as it anticipates the easing of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We hope that our fuels volume will go back to pre-Covid levels sometime in 2022,” Pilipinas Shell President and CEO Cesar G. Romero told reporters in a virtual briefing. He, however, indicated that it may take longer for the aviation sector to bounce back – possibly until 2024 given the slump that the industry has been mired in due to travel restrictions.

Pilipinas Shell President and CEO Cesar G. Romero

Romero qualified though that his sales growth target “is all hinged on how the economy will respond to the health measures that are instituted by the government to combat the Covid crisis.”

And while the company and the entire oil industry are traversing the pandemic-induced difficulty,  Romero had set the record straight that Pilipinas Shell will retain its listing status at the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) despite business decision last year to shut down its refining operations and having that asset converted into a world-class import facility.

“Our intention when we transformed our refinery is really to improve our financial performance. At the moment, no thoughts on delisting, we’ll just really maintain the status quo,” he said.

Romero further stated “we believe that despite all of these shorter-term challenges that we’re experiencing, and by no means I am saying that these are easy challenges, but our long prospects for the Philippines still remain very bright.”

He added even principals at their parent firm in Netherlands still see the Philippines as “a country that is definitely a very important for Royal Dutch Shell to be making good investments on.”

The oil firm’s projection on return to robust sales volume is rooted on the fact that the country had been posting strong gross domestic product (GDP) growths prior to last year’s assault of the health crisis.

“We believe that this economic performance will continue as soon as we’re over this crisis,” the Pilipinas Shell chief executive has opined.

He similarly noted the rise in spending power of Filipino consumers. “As we move towards more and more middle class status, we believe that there is indeed an opportunity to tap that very important market,” he added.

Being the 13th most populous country in the world and with much room yet for lifestyle improvements for many, the Philippines is viewed as one market that will be registering fuel demand swell in the coming years.

The current rate of vehicle ownership in the country is 11 for every 100 people, but there are expectations that the Philippines could inch closer to what Thailand has achieved – which is 58 vehicles per 100 of its population.

“So this new level of motorization, plus the growing middle class plus the economic growth of the country lead us to believe that the business prospects for our country remain very bright and therefore, the country continues to be an important market for Pilipinas Shell,” Romero stressed.