Month: February 2018

Phoenix planning to bring FamilyMart to Clark

By Victor V. Saulon, Sub-Editor, BusinessWorld

PHOENIX PETROLEUM Philippines, Inc. has mapped out plans for its existing and newly acquired businesses, including the expansion of its convenience store chain in Clark, Pampanga, and the construction of a bitumen plant in Calaca, Batangas.

“[Clark] is an area that we are looking at [because] that is a significant part of our portfolio,” Henry Albert R. Fadullon, Phoenix chief operating officer, told reporters on the sidelines of the launch of the company’s upgraded fuels on Monday night.

“We have 177 hectares there and I’m sure when that’s fully built up similar or comparable to BGC (Bonifacio Global City) there will be a lot of opportunities there for Family Mart,” he added.

Phoenix’s parent company Udenna Corp. is developing a 177-hectare property into Clark Global City.

In the near term, Mr. Fadullon said FamilyMart’s expansion would remain “opportunistic” and focused on “key areas” where customers traditionally patronize for convenience. These are Metro Manila’s central business districts, BGC, Makati City’s Legaspi and Salcedo villages, and some areas in Alabang and Quezon City.

“We are going to expand but focused on these key areas,” Mr. Fadullon said. “We will follow where the business is. If the business requires a significant amount of expansion, we will follow.”

However, putting up Family Mart stores in Phoenix service stations is not a priority at this time although the company remains “opportunistic” with its decision to bundle both businesses in one location.

“The priority at the moment is to focus on the areas where we have most of the Family Mart right now, which is in the CBDs because nandoon ang (those are where the) customers that we want to target initially,” he said.

Phoenix, one of the companies put up by Davao City businessman Dennis A. Uy, bought the local franchise of the Japanese convenience store in October last year, although the antitrust watchdog cleared the deal only on Jan. 3, 2018.

Around mid-January, the listed company announced its joint venture with Thailand-based asphalt maker Tipco Asphalt Public Co. Ltd. and PhilAsphalt (Dev’t) Corp. to market and distribute bitumen and bitumen-related products in the country.

“We are planning to put up our own plant in Calaca, Batangas together with our joint venture partners,” Mr. Fadullon said.

“Our plan with our partners is to offer a different kind of technology for the road construction industry,” he said. “Bitumen is the base product but I think within the bitumen space there is a lot of opportunity for innovation and I think that is what where we see the opportunity in the Philippines.”

Asked when Phoenix plans to build the plant, he said: “Very soon… Within the year, we would like to have the asphalt business in place.”

Mr. Fadullon noted the new business brings opportunities in the infrastructure sector, including maintenance.

During the launch, Mr. Fadullon talked about Phoenix’s “success story” from its roots in Davao City with a few gasoline stations to its expansion up north that has emboldened the company to challenge the big industry players.

This year, Phoenix continues its expansion in the Luzon market with the placement of an order for 650,000 cylinders of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Phoenix previously said that the country’s main island accounts for 80% of the LPG market.

“We are progressing every two weeks, appointing dealers for key areas that we have identified,” he said, identifying these areas as Metro Manila, and Southern and Central Luzon.

Phoenix added LPG into its portfolio when it completed in August 2017 the acquisition of Petronas Energy Philippines, Inc., a company it has since renamed Phoenix LPG Philippines, Inc. The acquisition strategically supports its expansion in operation and product lines.

On Monday, the company launched a fuel additive it calls “Phoenix pulse technology,” which has a cleaning and protection properties for enhanced power and acceleration.

Shares in Phoenix closed 2.62% or 34 centavos lower at P12.66 apiece on Tuesday.


*This article is copied from the article published by BusinessWorld in the newspaper on Feb. 14, 2017  and is available online at:

Filipinos love love—and joy; don’t doubt it

A total reach of 71.7 million on Facebook, and counting, proves it

By: / / 05:02 AM February 14, 2018

Not only are Filipinos the world’s biggest social media users—a global study showed we spend more time on social media than any other nationality in the world (an average of four hours and 17 minutes a day)—they must also be the most romantic netizens in the world.

Proof: The fast-food chain Jollibee videos have gone viral again.

Released online two weeks ago, the three Kwentong Jollibee videos–“Signs,” “Status” and “Homecoming”– have had a total reach of 71.7 million on Facebook, with 34.5 million views on both Facebook and YouTube.

In the first 24 hours since the videos were posted, “Signs” drew 4.1 million views, 130,000 shares on Facebook alone, and “Homecoming” and “Status” getting 2.9 million and 2 million views, respectively.

Millennial audience

The numbers are remarkable, but should be expected, given how many Pinoys are diehard romantics. Based on analytic data on online reactions to last year’s videos, females 20 years old and above were the ones who responded most favorably.

“These female millennials were the ones who liked and, more importantly, shared the videos on their own social media accounts,” said Francis Flores, Jollibee global brand and chief marketing officer, and Jollibee Philippines marketing head. “Many of them shared their own experiences as well.”

Enrico Cuenca, Ashley Ortega and Lance Duggan reprise their roles in “Homecoming.”

He already knew that there had to be a new story this segment could share again.

Late last year, advertising firm McCann Worldgroup, headed by chair and CEO Raul M. Castro, again began sifting through dozens of possible Valentine storylines. From 50, they cut it down to five, which were presented to the client.

“We stayed true to what the brand was all about—spreading joy,” said Mitzie Nacianceno, McCann associate marketing partner.

“Based on my experience, I already know if a story will connect with our target audience. At the same time, it also had to be universal to appeal to the other segments,” Flores said.

Millions of views and likes are well and good, but for Flores, “the ultimate measure of success are the shares.”

“There are companies that buy ‘likes,’ but what they cannot do is buy ‘shares,’ he pointed out.

To date, the videos have been shared close to 550,000 times with almost 530,000 comments.

The cast of “Signs”: Bryce Dyler, Alexa Miro and Kyle Christian Anda

In “Signs,” a college coed believes that the universe will identify who she’s meant to be with. She misinterprets many of the supposed signs, until she realizes what she was looking for had been there all along.

Meanwhile, the protagonist in “Status” realizes, after far too many heartbreaks, that her one true love is her family.

“Homecoming” is an “interquel” to one of the Kwentong Jollibee videos from last year. Not to be confused with a prequel or a sequel, an interquel shows what happens in the middle of the story.

“Signs,” by far, is the most popular of the three new videos with 16.4 million views, although “Status” is being shared as well as commented on.

“In the process of crafting it, we felt it should be different from other Kwentong Jollibee videos because the others have a narrative, like a rom-com, while ‘Status’ is a very internal, introspective story,” McCann executive creative director Sid Samodio said.

“We were very fortunate to find a very talented woman (theater actress Elora Españo) to play the role because it would not have felt as genuine with a lesser actress,” Samodio added.

The team, from left: McCann Worldgroup’s executive creative director Sid Samodio, associate managing partner Mitzie Nacianceno, chairperson and CEO Raul Castro, senior art director and writer Flem Añonuevo, account manager Tonee Lacson and creative director Xzenia Cruz —PHOTOSBY ALEC CORPUZ

“For our target audience of female millennials, ‘Status’ was very relevant,” Flores said. “They’re at that stage where they’re not new in the dating game, they’ve learned a few lessons. They realize the value of self-love and family love.”

Core values

As Jollibee celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, it continues to strengthen its core Filipino values.

“We’ve always wanted Jollibee to be a brand that promotes positive family values. We’re really strong on family and I don’t expect our competitors to talk much about family love,” Flores said.

“They might come up with an ad about family, but people think it’s Jollibee or might say, ‘It feels like a Jollibee ad,’ and that’s a strength for us. When you talk about family or family values, top of mind is Jollibee,” he added.

Cast of #KwentongJollibee’s “Status”: Christian Sambilay, Elora Españo and Kristine Tabas

McCann’s Castro acknowledged the “overwhelming fame” that was a result of the first Valentine’s campaign last year.

“You can get derailed if you do things just for fame. For our client Jollibee, we went back to what we felt was right and, in this particular case, find the most heartwarming, kilig love stories that we can feature—inspired by the stories of the fans of Jollibee,” Castro said.

With 2018 being a landmark anniversary for the brand, Flores said Jollibee has mapped out a yearlong celebration that kicked off with the return of celebrity endorsers Aga Muhlach, wife Charlene Gonzales and their teenage twins Atasha and Andres.

Francis Flores, Jollibee global brand and chief marketing officer and Jollibee Philippines marketing head

It has also released a new song, “Apat na Dekada,” performed by Sarah Geronimo and Jollibee’s first-ever celebrity endorser, Gary Valenciano.

There are no plans of letting go of the Kwentong Jollibee videos come V-Day next year.

“One commenter wrote, ‘I know it’s February because there are new Kwentong Jollibee videos.’ We want to own that tradition. The challenge now is to come up with something better than what we’ve been doing,” Flores said.


*This article is copied from and was originally published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer in the newspaper on February  14, 2018 and is available online at:

‘Kwentong Jollibee’ campaign sets bar for digital marketing

By The Manila Times on February 11, 2018


Fast food giant Jollibee Foods Corp. (JFC) once again took social media by storm with its latest batch of Kwentong Jollibee Valentine short videos.

During the recent launch of the new videos titled, “Signs,” “Homecoming” and “Status,” Arline Adeva, JFC brand communications head, told The Manila Times that while the primary goal of the Kwentong Jollibee campaign is “to strengthen brand love and affinity” among their millennials target market, it has also boosted sales in a big way.

Last year, the first batch of heart-tugging “Kwentong Jollibee” videos consisting of “Vow,” “Crush” and “Date” combined to generate over 40 million views on Facebook and YouTube.

In terms of sales, those views also translated to a huge jump in revenues during the week the campaign was launched.

Adeva said total growth more than tripled during that period with two Jollibee signature food products, the Chickenjoy and Yumburgers getting the lion’s share of demand. “Sales growth for Chickenjoy doubled while sales for our yum burgers also quadrupled,” Adeva noted.

More than the sales, which are again expected to follow last year’s trend, JFC is very pleased with the Kwentong Jollibee campaign as the three new videos have already replicated the social media impact generated by last year’s batch.

Adeva added that since the uploading of the new Kwentong Jollibee videos last February 2, the campaign has earned a combined total reach of 57 million on Facebook as of Thursday, February 9.

The 23 million views on both Facebook and YouTube are also on pace to duplicate and even exceed last year’s 40 million plus views as Valentine’s week approaches.


The impressive numbers have prompted JFC global brand chief marketing officer Francis Flores to declare Kwentong Jollibee as “setting the benchmark or gold standard for digital marketing.”

But more than the reach and the views, JFC sees engagement as the key to the campaign’s success. So far, the three Kwentong Jollibee videos have a total engagement of 2.3 million on Facebook and YouTube including 540,000 total shares and 458,000 comments.

“For every Kwentong Jollibee we produce, we look at engagement as an indication of how powerful the storytelling was and how relatable our materials are to our publics. This is not just about the views, but how many shared our material, how many have commented or reacted to it and how it helped the brand dominate online conversations and own the season,” Adeva noted.

As for sales, Adeva said JFC considers it “a bonus” that the global impact of Kwentong Jollibee has people also lining up to dine not only at Jollibee’s 1,000 plus stores all over the Philippines but also in the almost 200 Jollibee stores outside the country.

“But we’re very happy just the same that these stories gave our customers more reasons to go to Jollibee and buy more of our products,” Adeva concluded.


*This story is copied from and originally published by The Manila Times in the newspaper on February 11, 2018 and is available online at

Philippine Seven steps up expansion after robust 2017 results


After opening 318 new stores in 2017, Philippine Seven Corp. (PSC), the exclusive local licensor of global C-store chain 7-Eleven, announced it was stepping up its momentum with more strategic franchising initiatives as part of its aggressive expansion plan.

As it embarks for long-term profitability and strong leadership this 2018, PSC, with a C-store fleet now pegged at 2,285, is targeting to open 375 new stores in various strategic locations this fiscal year.

Areas up for expansion include Region 2 (namely Isabela, Tuguegarao, Nueva Vizcaya and also Mindoro). For Visayas, PSC will be starting expansion in Leyte, Tacloban, and the rest of Eastern Visayas. In Mindanao, the company is planning to open stores in Surigao Del Sur and Norte and Sultan Kudarat.

“This year’s plan for Visayas and Mindanao is to open 75% franchise stores. Also, we have formulated a new franchise offer, the FC3, which is a lower investment compared to our existing franchise package. From R3.5 to R5-million investment, we came up with the new franchise package which is around less than half a million,” revealed Francis Medina, Business Development Unit Head.

Via the FC3 package, the company is targeting to have “a franchise ratio from 54% to 60%.”

“Our FC ratio is still more than half of our total stores. As of 2017, we already started converting some of our company-owned stores to franchise-owned. This year, we are planning to fully launch the FC3 to the public and we are expecting a heavy traffic of inquiries from there. The new program requires a full time store operator that will be hands on with store operations. Also, applicants will undergo 3-5 months of operations training,” he further stated.

According to Medina, the company’s successful finish in 2017 was due to consolidated efforts and solid execution of strategies.

Increased efficiency and constant elevation of customer shopping experiences through great value product choices and service offerings also account for 7-Eleven’s progress in the market.  Another accomplishment of the company, he added, is its milestone partnership which resulted to a 100th store under Chevron-Caltex station.

“We touch base areas where our competitors are not present yet. We tie up with logistical companies especially now that we are going into islands. Also, forging partnerships with institutional accounts and developers is a must,” said Medina.

Taken altogether, Medina said these factors have produced profitable bottom-line results for PSC.

“Despite the competition with other C-stores opening, we still managed to continue expanding into new territories, study new areas with potential for C-store concept. The company’s focus in 2017 was on aggressive expansion nationwide, especially Visayas and Mindanao. For this year, we were already able to open our first store in Bohol located in Panglao. It was opened last May,” Medina stated.

Given the new challenges brought forth by the newly-implemented Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law and competition with existing and new C-store market players, PSC is confident that, through continuous product innovation and new partnerships, 7-Eleven will continue to attract prospective partners.

“We are building momentum for our business by continually innovating our products, especially our proprietary brands, and services to give greater value to our patrons and shareholders. As of now, we are looking into venturing and expanding our e-commerce usage to provide products and services to customers in the most convenient way possible. They can already use CLiQQ APP as their wallet to buy 7-Eleven products,” Medina said.

“PSC is also formulating our Store of the Future 3 design that aims to enhance the 7-Eleven store image. We are forging new partnerships for new products (we are enhancing our “Crisp Bites” products by building new satellite kitchens) and services as well. Our digital strategy enhancement of Cliqq app and e-commerce is also on our timeline,” Medina concluded.


*This article is copied from the story published by Manila Bulletin in the newspaper on February and is available online at

Goldilocks bent on network expansion

By Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 6, 2018 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Goldilocks remains committed to expanding its network even as talks with the SM Group for a possible merger or acquisition bogged down, its top official said.

Goldilocks president Richard Yee said the company would continue to grow its network.

“We now have over 600 stores to serve our customers nationwide and we will continue this expansion in order to be more accessible to our customers,” Yee said.

Even as the talks did not push through, he said the SM Group’s interest in the company is a validation of Goldilocks’ efforts to strengthen its leadership position.

“To this end, we remain focused on our plans and strategies, which has allowed us to achieve double-digit growth in the past few years,” Yee said.

He thanked the SM Group for its interest in the company.

Last week, Goldilocks and SM jointly announced that talks for a possible acquisition wherein the SM Group will acquire the homegrown bakeshop and restaurant did not push through.

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC), the government’s anti-trust body, which approved the transaction in December, said the parties decided not to pursue the deal.

“It’s a completely business decision on their part, we’re happy we went that far and they cooperated, SM presented their undertaking, but at the end of the day they decided not to continue their transaction,” PCC chairman Balisacan said.

For its part, SM cited “changes in the general business environment” as reasons for not pushing through with the talks.

“Regarding the proposed acquisition by SM Retail of Goldilocks, both SM and Goldilocks have jointly agreed not to pursue the transaction given changes in the general business environment,” SM said in a statement.

Both parties did not elaborate on the reasons for the collapse of the talks.

Had the transaction proceeded, Goldilocks would have been a subsidiary of SM Retail which is under SM Investments Corp. (SMIC).

SMIC, through SM Prime Holdings Inc. develops, owns and operates shopping malls around the Philippines. SMPHI operates close to 70 malls in the Philippines, while Goldilocks has a network of more than 500 stores, some of which operate in SM malls as well as 200 stores abroad.

It would have marked SM’s foray into a new retail format and for Goldilocks, it would have provided a big boost to the company’s expansion given SM’s wide footprint nationwide.

Goldilocks started in 1966 when Filipino-Chinese sisters Milagros Leelin Yee and Clarita Leelin Go and their sister in law Doris Wilson Leelin opened the company’s first store along Pasong Tamo in Makati.

*This article is copied from and was originally-published by The Philippine Star. It is also available online at

Phoenix unveils new Muntinlupa station


DENNIS Uy-led Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, Inc. recently opened its newest retail station along West Service Road in Muntinlupa City as part of efforts to strengthen its retail network.

Phoenix Petroleum said in a statement on Thursday that the Muntinlupa station, which sports a clean, modern, and sleek style, was the 100th built under a redesign program.

“The newest Phoenix station boasts of a spacious land area for easy movement, air-conditioned restrooms, and a strategic location—providing convenient access to motorists traveling on the South Luzon Expressway,” the company added.

“The new look of our stations is just the start of our improved products and services to our customers as we set the tone for the future. Our goal is to exceed customer expectations and engage with the community we are part of through our improved stations,” Phoenix Petroleum Chief Operating Officer Henry Fadullon said.

Phoenix Petroleum is a publicly-listed company engaged in the trading and marketing of refined petroleum products, including LPG and lubricants, operation of oil depots and storage facilities, hauling and into-plane services.

Incorporated in 2002, the company currently operates more than 500 stations nationwide.

Aside from its expanding retail network, the leading independent oil firm serves major accounts in various industries such as power, shipping, logistics, manufacturing, construction, and transportation.

 Phoenix Petroleum recently ventured into the convenience retailing business after completing the acquisition of the local operations of FamilyMart earlier this month.

It also signed a joint venture agreement with Tipco Asphalt Public Co. Ltd of Thailand and PhilAsphalt (Dev’t) Corp. to market and distribute bitumen and bitumen-related products in the country.

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*This article is copied from the story published by The Manila Times in the newspaper on February 2, 2018 and is available online at:

Pancake House to enter Saudi Arabia

By: – Reporter / @philbizwatcher / / 01:09 AM February 01, 2018

Max’s Group Inc. (MGI), the country’s leading casual dining chain operator, is scaling up its overseas footprint by bringing its Pancake House restaurant brand to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

MGI signed a partnership deal with an Arabian group, Al-Bader National Establishment for Real-Estate Development, to open 12 Pancake House stores in this territory within the next five years.

This deal is MGI’s curtain-raiser for 2018 in terms of overseas expansion initiatives.

Pancake House – one of the brands seen to have a big potential to be accepted by a broader international audience and not just the overseas Filipino community – is a popular homegrown chain that serves pancakes, waffles, tacos, spaghetti and pan-fried chicken.

“Our international business continues to build on its momentum sustained from last year. We are excited with the prospect of entering a familiar territory this time around with another one of our loved brands. We believe the brand’s attributes and offerings will successfully make its way into the mainstream population,” MGI president and chief executive officer (CEO) Robert Trota said in a press statement on Wednesday.

MGI’s local partner, Jeddah-based Al-Bader, is a 17-year-old company which is primarily engaged in real estate trading,property development, commercial operations of shopping malls and furnished apartments. It recently entered the food and beverage business by selectively partnering with reputable global food names. Armed with a strong real estate background, it plans to invest in complementary industries such as food and tourism.

“We are excited to bring Pancake house to Saudi Arabia. We have been searching for a renowned brand to spearhead our venture into the food sector with the intention to deploy a substantial amount of investment. We find the brand’s assorted menu mix and all-day dining concept appealing to various demographic profiles. Moreover, we have experienced the brand ourselves as customers, and are now thrilled to become part of the Max’s Group family. We thank them for entrusting us and look forward to a lasting partnership,” Al- Bader CEO Badr Hamdi Hamed Albalawi said.

As part of its globalization program, MGI plans to open 20 to 30 new overseas outlets for 2018 primarily across core brands Max’s Restaurant, Pancake House and Yellow Cab Pizza. It aims to end the year with around 75 to 80 stores abroad.

Pancake House, for its part, currently operates seven overseas franchised outlets in Malaysia and United Arab Emirates. It plans to add at least two more branches in the United Arab Emirates and open its first store in Qatar this year.


*This story is copied from the article published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer and is available online at