• Eastern Petroleum sets record P1.6-B capex

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    Independent oil player Eastern Petroleum Corp. is looking to spend a record capital expenditure (capex) of P1.6 billion in 2014 after not having to fully utilized its spending this year, which was originally pegged at P2 billion.

    Fernando Martinez, chairman and chief executive officer of Eastern Petroleum, said in an interview with reporters on Thursday that while the company spent only P400 million out of its P2-billion capex set for this year, he is certain that the company will surely be able to fully utilize the P1.6 billion in 2014 or even more than that.

    “We will spend P1.6 billion next year for new LPG [liquefied petroleum gas]tanks, new company-owned distribution outlets, refilling plants and new retail stations. This year, we’re spending more than P400 million,” Martinez said.

    Out of the more than P1.6 billion, P1.2 billion will be spent for the 400,000 EC Gas tanks, P150 million for refilling tanks, P20 million for EC Gas distributing outlets and the remaining P260 million for the opening of 15 new gas stations across the country.

    Set to become the firm’s major income contributor in the next two years, EC Gas LPG cylinder is a recently launched modern kind of LPG cylinder.

    “With the contribution of EC Gas, we expect around P300 million in net income for full-year 2014. This is a very good number compared to the P60 to 100 million we are expecting for 2013,” Martinez earlier said, specifying that by the end of 2014, the company hopes to grow the number of its distribution outlets by 500.

    For its fuel stations, Eastern Petroleum will build around 15 stations next year, higher than the number of stores it opened this year, which is just around four.

    These 15 stations, according to Martinez, will be located in Tacloban, Bohol, Lucena, Cebu, Davao, Sarangani, South Cotobato, Quezon City, Bulacan and Pampanga.

    Meanwhile, Martinez reiterated that Eastern Petroleum will pursue its planned initial public offering somewhere between late 2015 and early 2016.

    Earlier, he said that the company is “seriously” mulling over the plan to enter the country’s equity market soon, aiming to raise more than $50 million or approximately P2 billion through an IPO at the Philippine Stock Exchange.

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