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When lockdowns unlock opportunities




A home-grown fuel company had fared well during the strict quarantine period that the government applied to control the spread of the highly-infectious coronavirus.

Instead, the government directive for most of the population to stay home proved to be a boost to the sale of cooking fuel or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) resulting to robust numbers in the first half for South Pacific Inc., a 100 percent Filipino-owned LPG company.

Gross sales were up by 27 percent or P7.75 billion up from P6.1 billion in 2019. Profit growth also registered a 13 percent uptick at P600 million.

Volume growth was steady, surging at 34 percent compared to 143,000 metric tons in the same period last year. Strong VisMin operations and expansion efforts augmented the rise.

Steady course
Because of its resiliency in the first half, SPI president Jun Golingay expressed optimism that SPI will achieve steady growth levels, based on its sustained performance that made it clinch third biggest market share in barely five years after joining the industry.

The company attributes its resilience amid the crisis to the fact that LPG remains to be a staple in most Filipino households. Initial challenges of transport were likewise quickly addressed.

“Our supply has also remained stable despite the pandemic. Distribution of LPG to our customers encountered some hurdles at the start of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) at first, but when quarantine was eased and the truck ban was lifted, LPG transport ran smoothly”, Golingay said.

Mandaue terminal running
SPI’s terminal in Mandaue City, Cebu started operations last January 2019 with 2×1,000 MT storage capacity.

Expansion is in full swing. Located inside Arctura Petroterminal in Mandaue City, SPI Cebu Terminal operations will be similar to that of Calaca, selling products to bulk customers. It will be serving not only the Island of Cebu, but as well as neighboring islands such as Negros, Bohol, Samar, and Leyte. The North Hub terminal in San Simon Pampanga Industrial Zone boasts of a 3 X 100 MT storage capacity.

The assurance that product supply would be sustained despite changing levels of quarantine contributed to the company’s steady sales.

Consumer confidence was also boosted by the company’s handling of its operations early on in the crisis. Being a part of the energy sector, the company made sure that it implemented and complied with operational requirements and procedures of the IATF when it came to its manpower.

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