PetDag maintains cautious outlook for retail segment

by ASILA JALIL / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

THE ban on interstate travel nationwide has led Petronas Dagangan Bhd (PetDag) to be cautious on the outlook for its retail segment despite seeing a slight pickup in sales in March.

PetDag chairman Datuk Md Arif Mahmood said the group has yet to set specific figures for the segment’s outlook this year due to the uncertainty brought upon by the pandemic.

“We saw some recovery in March, but I want to be very cautious in terms of the outlook because we are not out of the Covid situation yet.

“As much as we saw an increase in numbers for March, it is going to be difficult to say what the end numbers will look like given the restrictions that are still imposed for Hari Raya travel and so on,” he said during a virtual press conference after PetDag’s 39th AGM on Wednesday.

Besides its business operations at the physical stations, he said PetDag is also offering its items such as lubricants, T-shirts and merchandise on Shopee for revenue generation.

The company had recently announced its plans to invest RM500 million in capital expenditure this year to open new petrol stations, revamp its existing ones and enhance its non-fuel segment.

Md Arif said the company aims to gain 30% of its Ebitda from non-fuel segment by 2025.

“It is a tall aspiration, so, we need all the support and experiences for us to future-proof our business,” he said.

With over 1,000 petrol stations, Md Arif said more offerings will be rolled out this year as the company leverages its sites to serve its customers beyond the existing product range.

Among the plans that PetDag has in store is to have 100 more Makan @ Mesra by the end of this year to boost sales.

PetDag also has plans to upgrade its existing electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations to offer a fast-charging system for the convenience of its users.

He said although the company currently has 61 stations that offer EV charging stations, the utilisation for the service is still low.

“Moving forward, this will pick up as we will try to provide (more) solutions, not just at EV stations, but what we can do to make life seamless and efficient. We will monitor the market and evolve,” said Md Arif.

Meanwhile, PetDag MD and CEO Azrul Osman Rani (picture) said the commercial segment saw a 65% drop in its jet fuel demand last year as the aviation sector was badly hit by the pandemic.

However, he said the group’s market share is still standing strong and he is optimistic the group will regain volumes soon.

“It is largely dependent on economic growth. We are in all sectors of the business, but for aviation in particular, we have the lion’s share of the market, historically so, when that industry is affected, our volume would dip as well,” he said.

Meanwhile, Azrul highlighted PetDag’s plans to market liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a cleaner fuel option.

The group is the first in Malaysia to supply LNG via road tankers to off-grid customers through Petronas Group’s Virtual Pipeline System.

It is also marketing LNG to the marine industry via Petronas’ first LNG bunkering vessel MV Avenir Advantage which allows for the ship-to-ship transfer and is the first in South-East Asia to offer the solution.

The group will also continue to upgrade the Setel app to include new features such as the Setel wallet where customers can use the app to make payments at Mesra outlets nationwide.

It also plans to introduce Deliver-2Me on the app where selected purchases from over 140 Mesra outlets will be delivered to the vehicle.

PetDag’s share price dropped four sen or 0.20% to close at RM19.78 yesterday, valuing the company at RM19.65 billion.