Phoenix looking for investors to help settle debts


Dennis Uy-led Phoenix Petroleum Philippines Inc. is looking to unload shares and divest their assets following the impact of the pandemic on oil demand. 

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Tuesday, Phoenix reported that its board has allowed management to enter into negotiations for the “possible transfer, sale, mortgage or disposition of certain corporate properties, assets, or investments as may be necessary and required in relation and pursuant to the financial management program exercised by the [corporation] as part of its debt management and funding activities.”

The board added that it would consent “negotiations under reasonable and acceptable terms and conditions advantageous to the Corporation with any third party corporation(s) or any other entities.”

Back in mid-February, Uy was reported to be “open” to selling a controlling or minority stake in Phoenix, which became the country’s third-largest oil player in 2020. Phoenix later clarified that it was not for sale, but is “open to investors willing to invest in the company and who believes in the company’s business and can add value to its operations, finances and value of it stocks.” 

Before the end of 2020, Phoenix announced it went on a Php4.25 billion refinancing program in order to recover from the effects of the pandemic on its business. It also has gone on a “capital light” expansion strategy which focused on strategic partnerships and integrated franchising model.

Phoenix has yet to release its earnings report for the entire 2020, but it previously reported a net loss of Php95.5 million from January to September.

According to a Manila Bulletin report, meanwhile, Phoenix has been in talks with Citadel Holdings Inc. of the Delgado group. Citadel is involved with the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sub-segment of the deregulated downstream oil sector. 

Aside from Phoenix, Villavicencio-led Filoil Energy Company is said to be in negotiations for its planned buyout of French oil firm Total, specifically in its marketing and logistics joint venture.

Another Villavicencio-held oil firm TWA Inc. is also reportedly planning to sell, with LPG player Liquigaz as an interested buyer.