Eastern Petroleum Corp. is shelving its plans of going public to 2017 from the initially envisioned initial public offering (IPO) by the end of 2015, its top executive disclosed over the weekend.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Fernando Martinez said Eastern Petroleum wants to first reach certain goals in the next two years, as well as wait for the results of the upcoming Presidential election.
“We have plans (of IPO), but we are trying to attain certain milestones,” Martinez told The Manila Times at the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards on Friday.
“Hopefully, if the milestones are achieved in two years, and come the next administration—depending on who will win (and whether that will sustain or raise) the business confidence in our country.”
Previously, the downstream oil company was planning to raise a minimum of $50 million dollars (about P2.34 billion) via IPO by the end of 2015.
Martinez said the IPO would depend on the “milestone” of whether or not the firm could hit 500 LPG distribution outlets in the next two years, as well as 50 fuel service stations in three years.
“In the next three years, we are certain that fuel distribution stations will reach 100, but the LPG will easily reach 500 in the next two years. We will be already reaching 150 (additional LPG distribution stations) this year,” he said.
As of end-September, Martinez said Eastern Petroleum has 30 fuel service stations and 200 LPG distribution stations—mainly situated in the provinces, with only three fuel retail stations in Metro Manila.
He said high rental cost and roadblocks to getting permits hinder the company from putting up stations in Metro Manila.
“For Metro Manila, the challenges are not only the high rentals, but also the permitting,” Martinez said. “In due time, we will tackle them, especially when the new administration comes in.”
The company is also strengthening its venture in renewable energy (RE) through its subsidiary Caraga Renewable Energy Corp. (CREC).
It is building a 23-megawatt (MW) biomass plant in Agusan del Norte, which is set to go online by end-2016.
It is also planning to build two more ethanol plants in Visayas and Mindanao, with target completion in 2019. For this, Martinez said CREC is still conducting a “pre-development bankable feasibility study” to determine the locations and other specifications.
CREC partnered with Wellons Inc., one of the US’ largest boiler manufacturer for biomass, to provide technology expertise for the three RE plants.
Martinez said CREC and Wellons were both invited to explore RE ventures in Indonesia, Malaysia and Cambodia, but no concrete plans were drafted yet.
“Our partnership is exploring Jakarta,” Martinez disclosed. “We’re exploring possibilities there, and potentially maybe, even Malaysia and Cambodia right now. These are all tentative because we got invitations from the last conference two weeks ago, while we’re in Jakarta. It’s very encouraging (to venture there.”