Petronas Dagangan Bhd, (PDB) the retail arm of Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas), expects an improvement in performance in the current year ending March 31, 2004, fuelled by new petrol station openings and better costs management.
PDB managing director and chief executive officer Ibrahim Marsidi said the company hoped to open 30 new petrol stations this year.
The expansion would include the opening of hyperstations, a concept successfully introduced by the company in Taman Setiawangsa, Kuala Lumpur, early this year, he said.
The opening of hyperstations would depend on the availability of strategic locations. At the moment, we are studying several locations in the Klang Valley,'' Ibrahim told a press conference after its AGM in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
A hyperstation is a cross between a Petronas petrol kiosk, a Giant retail store outlet and a McDonald's fast-food restaurant.
Ibrahim said customer response to the new concept, introduced in January, was encouraging. The one at Taman Setiawangsa would be the first of a series of hyperstations to be opened over the next few years, he added.
PDB chairman Tan Sri Mohd Hassan Marican said the company was open to alliances with interested parties to expand the services offered at its service stations.
We have no exclusive arrangements with the partners involved in the development of hyperstations,'' he said.
Hassan said PDB's strategy was to provide value-added services, ranging from automated teller machines to postal/courier services and fast-food restaurants at its petrol outlets.
As at the end of May, Petronas had 646 petrol stations nationwide, compared with 635 as at March 31.
According to its 2002 annual report, PDB spent RM473mil on capital expenditure, of which more than 70% was channelled towards building 62 new stations during the year under review.
On the outlook for the current year, Hassan said PDB's performance would be affected by various external and internal factors, including fluctuations in crude oil prices and market demand.
The petroleum retail sector is a small margin business. To ensure good results, we will continue to implement various initiatives to help minimise operating costs and enhance business development activities,'' he said.
He said despite stiff competition, PDB's share of the local petroleum products market had expanded to 37%, while its retail market share had grown to 25%.
For the year ended March 31, turnover grew 22% to RM8.97bil, but pre-tax profit slipped 65% to RM230mil on lower margins.