Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. is looking to nonfuel businesses to refocus its fuel stations into “mobility destinations” after incurring a net loss of P16.2 billion in 2020. The deep dive was mainly due to the cost of transforming its crude oil refinery in Batangas province into a full-pledged import facility as well as the crash in oil prices. In a statement, Pilipinas Shell said partnerships with international and local retail brands, along with full vehicle servicing such as car wash and oil change lounges, “will turn each mobility station into a one-stop community hub.”
The company intends to open 60 to 80 such stations yearly in the next few years. The hope is to grow on pace with the Philippine economy by increasing fuel sales volumes by about 4 percent a year and convenience retail profits by about 15 percent per year.
Of the 2020 net loss, Pilipinas Shell said 73 percent or P12 billion represented one-off costs related to the shut down and the transformation of the Tabangao refinery in Batangas into a fully import facility.
The remainder of the losses, P4.8 billion, was attributed to the drastic decline in crude oil prices amid restrictions on travel in particular and in the operation of business in general due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even then, Pilipinas Shell said it saw a “strong rebound” in the fourth quarter of 2020 as it posted a core net income of P400 million from a core net loss of P700 million in the third quarter.
Cesar Romero, Pilipinas Shell president and chief executive, said transforming the refinery into an import terminal was “a very hard decision … but necessary to be more competitive in the future,” particularly considering the negative outlook for the refining sector worsened due to the pandemic.
Romero said that as of end-2020, the company was able to secure jobs for at least 134 out of the 217 refinery employees that were affected by the transition while 26 of them opted for a voluntary retirement.
“We are slowly seeing the results of our agility and decisiveness to thrive from the challenges posed by the global pandemic,” he said.
“We will continue to invest in the country to expand our capacity to support our marketing growth aspirations,” Romero added.