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Mon 21 May 2018 08:15 AM

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Revealed: Adnoc Distribution's plans for next-generation petrol stations

Adnoc Distribution's plans include more Geant stores, new retail partnerships, electric chargers and self-service pumps

Revealed: Adnoc Distribution's plans for next-generation petrol stations
Adnoc Distribution deputy CEO John Carey and CEO Saeed Al Rashdi.

Petrol stations in Dubai will soon be multipurpose destinations with big-name convenience stores, electric charging stations and self-service pumps according to Adnoc Distribution CEO Saeed Al Rashdi.

In an interview with Arabian Business, Al Rashdi, along with deputy CEO John Carey, outlined the company’s ambitious plans following its successful listing on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) in December, and a 12 percent increase in Q1 net profits revealed last week.

“Our stations are a destination and we don't want to be constrained by the type of fuel we sell. We're not living in denial. This is part of the mobility strategy and we know what is happening in the world,” said Al Rashdi.

"We have plans for fast chargers for EVs (electric vehicles) at ten sites in the next two years and we're also considering hydrogen technology. We just want to capture the customer."

John Carey, who joined the Adnoc Distribution in September 2017, expanded on plans to increase the profitability of its stations.

“The introduction of self-service and a premium service will give customers more choice. The second part is premiumisation in the fuel. Our customers are driving better cars and they want higher quality fuel. We do have that option but it's a low proportion of the business because we don't explain to the customer what it is.”

Carey also outlined the plans to develop Adnoc Distribution’s retail offerings, which includes bringing the Géant brand to 10 existing retail sites.

“At the moment retail is a disproportionately smaller part of the business than any other business that I've worked in and that's a huge opportunity for us. We know the customer wants it  - look at the UK where you have Shell with Waitrose or BP with M&S. Géant Express is about having the right products and the right look and feel. So it's about bringing in partners who can help us do that.”

Filling a gap in Dubai

Adnoc Distribution plans to open 13 sites this year, including three in Dubai.

Al Rashdi and Carey said the expansion to Dubai has taken so long because stations in the emirate were losing money until fuel subsidies were replaced by a fixed margin for petrol distributors in August 2015.

“Up to that time Emarat, Enoc and Adnoc Distribution were all losing money [on fuel sales]. Basically everyone was pushing customers to the other brands,” Al Rashdi said.

“We did not do that in Abu Dhabi. We actually expanded. We acquired stations when people were selling during the subsidy period. Nobody was interested to expand.”

Carey also noted the potential for profitability in the underserved Dubai market.

“We can do 25 million litres a year per site. In Europe it is more like 10 million. It’s a large amount so you will see more investment coming into Dubai.”

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