• ‘Justifying the unjustifiable’


    Emeterio Sd. Perez

    GIC Private Limited, which is owned by the government of Singapore, is listed in a filing posted on the website of the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) as either direct or indirect owner of 219.292 million common shares in the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI).

    The Singaporean company made the report in connection with its trade of 5.234 million BPI common shares in 42 transactions on the PSE between Dec. 11, 2017 and Feb. 7, 2018. Of the total transactions, it sold 4.53 million BPI common shares at prices ranging from a low of P103.18 on Dec. 11, 2017 to a high of P123.50 on Jan. 19, 2018. It reacquired 703,240 BPI common shares in seven transactions.

    On Monday, Feb. 19, BPI common shares closed trading at P124.40 after hitting a 30-day high of P128.20. The stock recorded a month’s low of P101.30 on Jan. 18 this year.

    After these transactions, GIC’s direct and indirect interest in BPI dropped to 196.89 million common shares, or 5.011 percent of 3.929 billion outstanding BPI common shares.

    (Note. This was based on GIC’s remaining BPI holdings of 196.889 million common shares as computed against BPI’s outstanding common shares of 3.929 billion as of Feb. 19, 2018. GIC’s report placed the percentage equivalent of its remaining BPI common shares at 4.998 percent.)

    Surging gasoline prices

    Phoenix Petroleum Philippines Inc. is inviting its public stockholders who trade on the PSE in Makati to attend the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting at 2:00 p.m. on March 15, 2018 at its headquarters on Stella Hizon Reyes Road, Bo. Pampanga, Lanang, Davao City.

    From their seats, the public may want to ask Phoenix why the prices of gasoline and other oil products continue surging. Are these price increases justified or justifiable?

    As of Sept. 30, 2017, Phoenix reported 1.431 billion outstanding common shares and 25 million outstanding preferred shares. It also said it owed its creditors P26.952 billion. As of the same cut-off date, it said it had piled up retained earnings of P5.214 billion based on a consolidated financial statement.

    Phoenix reported in the same consolidated financial posting that it submitted to the PSE and the SEC total current assets of P19.482 billion, against total current liabilities of P18.06 billion.

    For a nine-month period, Phoenix registered net profit that crossed the billion-peso mark at P1.437 billion on revenues of P32.556 billion, of which “sale of goods” accounted for P32.274 billion. That’s 99.134 percent of total revenues!

    Major player 1

    Petron Corp. is undoubtedly the biggest among the oil industry players. It has 9.375 billion outstanding common shares, 7.122 million outstanding preferred 2A shares and 2.878 million preferred 2B shares. As of Sept. 30, 2017, Petron reported total liabilities of P226.694 billion.

    As one of the oil industry’s major players, it has accumulated retained earnings of P47.166 billion, an increase of P5.155 billion from P42.011 billion in the same nine-month period in 2016. Its total current assets stood at P132.302 billion, against total current liabilities of P141.973 billion.

    The oil company’s gross profit of P11.285 billion from July to Sept. 30, 2017 resulted from sales of goods amounting to P106.547 billion. From that gross profit, Petron’s three-month net income totaled P3.547 billion, up P1.309 billion, or 60.94 percent, from P2.148 billion in the corresponding period of 2016.

    From January to September 2017, Petron reported sales of P313.505 billion, up 65.735 billion, or 26.531 percent, from P247.770 billion a year earlier.

    Were the unstoppable increases in the prices of gasoline and other oil products responsible for Petron’s profitability?

    Major player 2

    As of September 2017, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. reported 1.61 billion outstanding common shares and total liabilities of P36.331 billion. Its total current assets grew to P40.344 billion from P38.856 billion in the same period in 2016.

    Based on a consolidated but unaudited financial report, Shell’s retained earnings surged to P9.083 billion from P5.112 billion in 2016. That’s a huge jump of P3.972 billion, or 77.70 percent, during the period in between.

    In the third quarter of 2017, Shell reported a net profit of P2.443 billion from P1.287 billion in the same three-month period in 2016. The company’s profitability resulted from a three-month revenue of P41.188 billion in the third quarter of 2017 and P35.134 billion in the same period in 2016.

    Because of its profitability, Shell’s provision for income tax also increased, to P1.053 billion in the third quarter of 2017 from P499.586 million in the third quarter of 2016. The increase of the company’s tax provision totaled P553.562 million.

    Being a public company, as of Sept. 30, 2017, Shell had 319 shareholders who owned at least 100 shares each of the company’s common shares.

    Due Diligencer’s take

    Owners of both private public utility vehicles (PUV) should also be told if increases in the prices of gasoline and other oil products are justified and easily justifiable. The repeated use of the two words is intentional in the face of upward adjustments because students, and those who prefer to hold rallies against the government, seem not to care about it at all.

    Why should they rally against oil price increases, which, after all, are uncontrollable? Why protest the market forces that dictate prices of oil products and other commodities?

    It is only recently that these activists announced their intention to also protest against oil price hikes despite years of waiting from consumers. Why the late reaction from protesters, who even had the guts to announce their intention to “occupy Bulacan,” as if a small portion of that very small barangay in Pandi represents the entire province?

    Why have the students, particularly of the University of the Philippines, become silent? Several years ago, when these students have not yet been born, a mere centavo oil price increase would be the object of wrath by consumers, especially car owners and PUV drivers. Have these protesters already justified oil price increases even before the announcement? Just asking.



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