By Angelica Y. Yang, Reporter

LISTED oil company Petron Corp. said it is hoping to deliver a good financial showing this year as long as authorities do not impose a stringent lockdown, its top official said on Tuesday.

“We certainly believe it (Petron) will continue to deliver a good performance unless there is a strict lockdown again,” President and Chief Executive Officer Ramon S. Ang said during the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting which was virtually held on Tuesday.

The firm was able to return to profitability by the second half of last year, as its net income from July to December hit P2.8 billion.

Petron’s Chief Finance Officer Emmanuel E. Eraña said during the event that this was a modest recovery from “huge losses” incurred the first half of 2020, which the firm earlier placed at P14.24 billion.

“The results from last two quarters of 2020 fueled our optimism as we entered 2021,” Mr. Eraña said, citing Petron’s first-quarter consolidated net income of P1.73 billion.

He added that the company’s refinery in Bataan served as the main import facility which ensured a stable and reliable supply of petroleum products during the global health emergency.

For Mr. Ang, Petron’s 180,000 barrels-per-day refinery is “very competitive,” and the firm sees no reason in shuttering the facility.

“In fact, we are set… to restart the refinery this coming June, unless there is a hard lockdown and the volume drops down tremendously,” he said, adding that the refinery remains a viable business.

Previously, Petron temporarily halted the operations in its Limay refinery in February to reduce losses due to weak margins.

Sought for comment on the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on Petron’s overall financial performance, Mr. Ang said that volume sales were affected.

“Pandemic has brought down the volume of Petron. Revenue-wise, we are down practically 44% decline and volume drops by 27%,” he explained.

“Luckily, Petron’s balance sheet is very strong, and we have prepared the company to be able to weather this kind of storm. Rest assured that this company will survive and will make good return for everyone,” he added.

Petron’s attributable net income for the three months ending March stood at P1.4 billion, swinging from losses of P4.61 billion in the same period last year, even as the number of oil barrels sold declined and revenues decreased during the period.

Shares of Petron in the local bourse shed 0.32% or 1 centavo to close at P3.09 apiece on Tuesday.