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.