Gulf Oil Lines Up .₹ 150 cr to Ex­pand Lu­bri­cant Biz

Co to set up plant in Chen­nai; eyes value-added prod­ucts space

The Economic Times - - Companies & Economy - Ra­chita.Prasad @times­

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

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