Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation (Shell) had reassuring news for its shareholders during its Annual General Meeting held virtually on June 16.
The company closed the year 2019 strong with P5.6 billion in net income, a hefty 11 percent increase from P5.1 billion in 2018.
“We started 2020 with a very healthy balance sheet, which puts us in a better position to handle the coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID -19) situation,” says Pilipinas Shell CEO and Country Chairman Cesar Romero.
“I am proud that Pilipinas Shell has continued to provide vital energy products to our customers and communities, even during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) period,” he adds.
Romero is optimistic that with Pilipinas Shell’s sufficient retained earnings and reasonable gearing level, the company can maintain financial resilience and survive the drastic reduction in domestic demand as a series of quarantines were implemented to help the country stem the COVID-19 pandemic since March.
“Now, more than ever, Pilipinas Shell draws from its 106 years of experience doing business in the Philippines. We’ve had our share of regional and global economic crises, socio-political disruptions, and industrial shifts. We know what levers we can pull in downturns, even dramatic ones like this, and we are in control. We have the will, people and resources, as well as our core values to get us through this particularly challenging time,” he says.
In January, for instance, Shell’s supply chain and distribution network was affected when ashfall from the Taal Volcano eruption caused the cancellation of flights, displaced residents, and disrupted the movement of people, goods, and services to and from the company’s Refinery in Batangas.
Pilipinas Shell also had to deal with plummeting global oil prices resulting from the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia in the first quarter of the year.
Pilipinas Shell Chairman of the Board Min Yih Tan, who was also virtually present during the meeting, expressed confidence that the company’s recovery strategies are in place.
“We are in a robust position not only to deal with market volatility but also to support the country’s growth as it enters the ‘new normal’, he said.
Romero says that even as Pilipinas Shell enhances its cash conservation measures by generating revenues, reducing cost, capex and manage working capital, the company continues to fulfill its role as the country’s partner in nation-building.
“We have reached more than half a million Filipinos through our COVID-19 response activities,” he says.
Pilipinas Shell provided free fuel to 23 key hospitals around the country, as well as fuel subsidies for hospital shuttle services and a fuel discount program for frontliners.
Under Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc.’s (PSFI) Para sa Bayani program, several initiatives are being implemented. Ani Para sa Bayani, which bridges farmers to kitchens and delivers food to frontliners, served almost 500,000 meals to Filipino modern-day heroes nationwide. Under Proteksyon Para sa Bayani, PSFI tapped various sectors to source and create over 8,000 PPE sets for everyday frontliners, including deliverymen and other local partners. Tulong Para sa Bayani ensured that almost 12,000 households in Shell communities received relief packs and essential goods during the ECQ.
“While we are seeing initial signs of economic recovery, it is not clear how long it will take the country to bounce back, and in what shape or form the new normal will be like. What is clear, though, is that we must show leadership and take early and decisive action to stay resilient as a company,” says Romero.