Chevron plans to spend Bt600 million this year expanding its network of service stations, launching promotional activities and developing new products in a bid to drive its sales up 10 per cent.
Adrian Bendeck, country chairman and general manager of products at Chevron (Thailand), said yesterday that commercial/ industrial retail sales and aviation-fuel sales had been averaging about 300 million litres per month.
For this year, Chevron projects 10-per-cent growth based on the expansion and upgrading of petrol service outlets from 400 currently to 500 locations by 2015. Last year 25 petrol stations were added and this year 30 more are planned.
However, Chevron wants to switch from investing in outlets jointly with the owners to allowing new owners to invest in the outlets and land by themselves.
Chevron will support these investors with brand-image enhancement, advertising and public relations activities to draw the target group of customers. The margin for outlet owners will be increased from about 50-60 satang per litre to about 80 satang.
Chevron will also provide strategic support. It is joining with Central Food Retail Co to set up Tops Deli and Family Mart convenience stores at most outlets, including Bosch car-maintenance outlets at Caltex petrol stations in major Southeast Asian markets in the second half.
Chevron has stopped selling 91-octane petrol in line with the government’s policy. Emphasis will be on 95-octane fuel and E20 (20 per cent ethanol) gasohol with Techron, which will be launched next month via 55 Caltex outlets and 100 outlets by year-end to meet demand from new vehicles under the government’s first-car-buyers programme.
Bendeck disagrees with the government’s imposition of a ceiling for the retail price of diesel. The price should be allowed to move freely in line with market forces and actual costs, he says. Chevron’s marketing cost for diesel is about Bt1.40-Bt1.50 per litre, which should really be about Bt1.80, according to market forces.
Chevron, which holds 10 per cent of Thai Petroleum Pipeline Co (Thappline), is not inter-ested in raising its equity in PTT Group’s com-panies, preferring to maintain the current stake, as the projected return of investment for Thappline’s projects in the Northeast and North are not enticing enough at this time, he said.