Will Petron become government-owned again?

Amid rising fuel prices, San Miguel Corporation’s head honcho, Ramon S. Ang (RSA), has expressed his willingness to sell Petron Corporation – currently the country’s largest fuel retailer – back to the Philippine Government, if the latter wishes so.

“Yung sina-suggest na bilhin ng gobyerno yung Petron, anytime po puwede ko pa ipautang sa Philippine Government. Bilhin ninyo ito ng over five years to pay. I swear kung gusto ng gobyerno bilhin handa niyo na, sabihin niyo na, bebenta ko kaagad sa inyo. Pagawan niyo na ng valuation immediately,” said RSA.

(Those suggesting the government buy back Petron, I can sell it to the Philippine government anytime. They can even buy it for over five years to pay. I swear, if the government wants to buy it, just tell us and I will sell it immediately. Prepare a valuation immediately.)

Ramon Ang to PH Gov’t: I’m willing to sell Petron back to gov’t image

The remarks were made by RSA during a hearing of the House Committee on Ways and Means on proposals to suspend the fuel excise tax due to rising oil prices worldwide. He said that the government can make an offer anytime if it is really interested in buying the oil company back from private ownership.

“Kung sa tingin niyo jackpot yung negosyong iyan, let the government buy it at the market [value] lang. Hindi ko kailangan tubuan ang gobyerno,” added RSA.

(If you think the business is a jackpot, let the government buy it at the market valuation. I don't need to profit from the government.)

Petron traces its roots back to 1933 when the Socony Vacuum Company and Standard Oil of New Jersey did a joint venture to establish oil retailing business across Asia, including the Philippines. They named the new company Standard Vacuum Oil Company or Stanvac.

In 1957, Stanvac won the concession to build and operate an oil refinery in Bataan. FilOil Refinery Corporation was then established in 1959. In 1973, during the height of Martial Law, the Philippine Government, through the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC), acquired the company to form Petrophil Corporation, which was later renamed Petron.

By 1994, the world’s largest oil producer, Saudi Aramco, had a 40% share with the company. By 2008, Saudi Aramco sold its entire stake to London-based investment firm Ashmore Group, which also acquired the Philippine Government’s share by December of that year.

In 2010, San Miguel Corporation acquired the majority control of Petron Corporation which it holds to this day. If they will continue to do so, or if they do sell Petron to the government, that's something we'll have to wait for and see in the upcoming months.