Gulf Oil Lines Up .₹ 150 cr to Expand Lubricant Biz
Co to set up plant in Chennai; eyes value-added products space
Mumbai: Gulf Oil Corp is expanding its lubricant business in India with an investment of .₹ 150 crore in setting up a plant in Chennai, as the Hinduja Group company sees opportunity emerging for value-added products driven by the Indian government’s push to cutting down emissions.
While it aggressively expands its fuel retail business globally, the company has not yet looked at entering the Indian market for fuel retail.
“It is amazingly brave and wise of India to accelerate the pace of implementing emission norms. It gives us the possibility to work on products that are more focused on fuel economy,” Frank Rutten, VP — international at Gulf Oil International, told ET. “The moment the legislation creates the right play- ing ground, the industry immediately plays into it by offering renewable, fuel efficient products.” India recently set a 2020 target to implement BS VI emission standards, advancing its previous plan. The company plans to introduce products that will have “measurable benefits”. “When we talk about the growth rate that Gulf Oil is enjoying in India, it will be necessary to expand the production capability as the product portfolio is likely to get more complex. The investment in Chennai allows us to have production infrastructure that would match the upcoming product portfolio for the next 10 years,” he said.
Gulf Oil in 2011 singed up Indian cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni as its brand ambassador, which helped it create awareness among cus- tomers, especially in the commercial vehicle (CV) segment. The company said it has a 7% market share in the Indian automotive lube sector, and is growing at a speed faster than its customer or its own growth rate in other economies. It is now making an international foray into fuel retail business. It signed up with Manchester United to become the English football club’s global sponsor and official lubricant-cum-fuel retail partner.
“We recently entered Russia, Canada, Mexico, and would be entering 1020 countries this year. So we would definitely be interested in the second-largest country (by population) in the world. At the moment, given the regulation, there is a barrier in entering the Indian fuel retail market but the moment the barrier is gone, we would look at it,” Rutten said.
Indian regulations state that a company which wants to enter the fuel retail business must invest or show propose to invest .₹ 2,000 crore in petroleum infrastructure, which acts as a barrier for new entrants.
While the company aggressively expands its fuel retail business globally, it has not yet looked at entering the Indian market for fuel retail