Ramon Ang offering government buyback of Petron

ramon ang tatler

Petron President and CEO Ramon Ang is offering to the government a buyback of the oil giant amid lawmakers’ proposals to return the company to state control as a solution to series of oil price hikes.

Ang was commenting on House Bill 244 or the Petron Renationalization Bill filed by Bayan Muna Reps. Carlos Zarate, Eufemia Cullamat, and Ferdinand Gaite back in 2019. Zarate revived the call to discuss the bill recently amid the increases in pump prices.

“Yung sina-suggest na bilhin ng gobyerno yung Petron, [anytime] po, pwede ko pang ipautang sa Philippine government. [Bigyan ko kayo] ng over five years to pay. I swear, [kung] gusto ng gobyernong bilhin, handa niyo na! Sabihin niyo na at ibebenta ko na agad sa inyo,” Ang said during the hearing of the House Committee on Ways and Means on Monday.

“Pagawan niyo na ng valuation immediately. Walang arte-arte. Kung sa tingin niyo jackpot yung negosyong ‘yan, let the government buy it at the market valuation lang. ‘Di po kailangang tubuan ng gobyerno,” he added.

Under the bill, government-owned Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) would buy a majority stake or 51% of Petron upon the first year of its effectivity, should the measure is signed into law. PNOC should, then, regain full control of the oil giant within a period of four years. 

PNOC first acquired Petron at the height of the 1973 oil crisis. Come 1994, Saudi Arabian oil giant Saudi Aramco bought 40% of Petron after signing a stock purchase agreement. In the same year, 20% of PNOC shares were sold in what was called the “mother of all initial public offerings” in the country. 

Ang also noted that Petron, as well as fellow major oil players Shell and Caltex, are facing tough competition from new counterparts, which comprise 40% of the petroleum market.

Petron lost Php11.4 billion in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It later posted a Php3.87 billion net income in the first half of 2021.

The Department of Energy (DOE) recently appealed to lawmakers to move for the suspension of the excise tax of petroleum products. Ang, however, thinks otherwise given the government’s budget deficits.

The DOE is also moving for the amendment of Republic Act 8479 or the Oil Deregulation Law, which has gained support from the House Committee on Energy.

Pump prices are rolling back by as much as Php1 per liter this Tuesday after nine weeks of continuous hikes.

Photo from Tatler Philippines website.