Friday, 25 July 2008

Petronas Dagangan not taking over Esso stations

PETRONAS Dagangan Bhd, the listed subsidiary of Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas), has not ruled out the possibility of acquiring service stations operated by other oil companies.

However, it dismissed talk that it would take over Esso's retail assets.

Chairman Datuk Anuar Ahmad said the company had not engaged in any talks with Esso, a unit of the US-based ExxonMobil Inc, to acquire the latter's service stations in Malaysia.

"I am surprised when you ask the question. As far as I know, Esso has sold off 20 service stations in Sarawak to a company called Excel. We did not have any discussions with Esso to acquire its remaining service stations," he said.

Nevertheless, the acquisition of service stations is part of Petronas Dagangan's strategies to sustain growth and profitability in addition to organic growth, he added.

"We may look at the acquisition of service stations if the offer is on the table," Anuar told reporters after Petronas Dagangan's annual general meeting in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

On another development, Anuar said Petronas Dagangan was looking at spending some RM500 million to open 50 service stations during the financial year ending March 31 2009.

At present, Petronas Dagangan operates 903 service stations, of which four are hyper-stations and 82 stations that offer both petrol and diesel fuels and natural gas for vehicles (NGV).

"Depending on the location of the proposed new stations, we expect to spend up to RM10 million for a station. It would cost us more to build a hyper-station as it needs larger land.

"For NGV, the planning and assets are handled by a different subsidiary, namely Petronas NGV Sdn Bhd," Anuar said.

Petronas Dagangan registered pre-tax profit of RM908.4 million on revenue of RM22.3 billion in the financial year ended March 31 2008.

Its retail business accounted for 42 per cent of total revenue, with commercial industrial business contributing the remaining 58 per cent.

In view of its sound financial performance, Petronas Dagangan is recommending a final dividend of 33 sen per share to its shareholders.

Together with the interim dividend of 12 sen per share paid in December last year, total dividend for the financial year is 45 sen per share.

Source : Business Times