The FINANCIAL — Golden Brand winner Rompetrol Georgia is preparing for a new stage of retail network development aiming for absolute coverage of the territory of Georgia with the its branded petrol stations. Alexander Albin, Rompetrol Georgia Director General, told The FINANCIAL that introduction of new product services and quality control will be the main challenges of the company in 2010.
For the implementation of its projects the company will invest about 1 million USD.
“It is planned that during 2010 the network of filling stations will increase by 15% and retail sales by 20%,” Alexander Albin told The FINANCIAL.
In 2009 Rompetrol Georgia sold 141,983 tonnes of oil products. Annual turnover of the company was 120 million USD.
Alexander Albin, 40, previously working at KazMunaiGaz, was appointed General Director of Rompetrol Georgia in November 2009. Albin underlined the “unique geographical location of Georgia” as the main advantage of our country and discussed its potential being positive for his company’s development also.
“Company Rompetrol Georgia has been operating on the Georgian market for 5 years. In parallel with the multi-million investment in network development and implementation of innovations, improved control over quality of fuel, as well as improved service, Rompetrol Georgia continues to invest in social projects and support different types of sports,” Mr. Albin said.
“In April 2009 Rompetrol Georgia introduced a completely new product – Efix – on the local market. This product increased our sales by 100%. Corporate sales achieved a record result – 45% of the total market. We also increased the number of petrol stations from 32 to 46. That allowed us to hire 212 new employees. Presently our company employs 609 workers. During 2010 we plan to keep up this rate, by improving service and the introduction of various innovations.”
“Summing up activities in Georgia, I would mention that during its three years the company has been actively sponsoring auto sports and financing all races of the season all year round, and celebrates achievements at the grand ceremony of Gala Awards racers. We also support the development of rugby and football in Georgia, and focus on youth trends. The main priority in the field of social responsibility for us is to care for socially deprived children. Last year we carried out a major project – Draw Rompetrol, which took place last summer throughout Georgia to support socially disadvantaged children. The project was so successful that we decided to expand certain areas and make it even more interesting and traditional.”
Q. How have the recent economical challenges changed plans for your company’s development?
A. After a short pause and re-evaluation of the situation, we are preparing for a new stage of company development. The emphasis is definitely on the development of the retail network and the ultimate goal of maximum coverage of the territory of Georgia with a network of petrol stations. A very important aspect is the further improvement of customer service, introduction of new product services and quality control.
Q. The Golden Brand award is a testimony to the huge popularity and success of your company. In your view, what are the main advantages of your company which help you to attract customers?
A. The mission of Rompetrol in Georgia is to win the respect and confidence of consumers. Our main goal is the most satisfied customers and in this regard, we constantly introduce new technologies and standards, improve service and offer the best European fuel.
All products are entirely supplied by Rompetrol Rafinare (Petromidia Refinery, located in Romania, on the Black Sea Coast), which has adopted the most recent European standards in terms of quality and environment, as a result of major investments in technology ( only during last 2 years, KazMunai Gaz has invested about 350 million USD in it) .
Technologies that are embedded in our stations, an electronic method of providing guarantees the exact amount of fuel. In our network of petrol stations all types of fuel are of only European production and quality. We also offer consumers certain free services including tire pump up, and window cleaning. The new shops and improved infrastructure are evident at our petrol stations.
Q. What are the main challenges for 2010?
A. “With regard to our strategy of development in terms of the company’s expansion in the Georgian market, Rompetrol plans invest several million USD in order to implement innovations in the enhancement of fuel quality checking. We will also expand funding of social projects and sports development.
This year, together with foreign experts our company conducted extensive work on verification and clarification of all technical equipment, tanks, checking the accuracy of devices. Currently we are running modernization of Rompetrol’s base in Georgia. In order to improve security conditions and the ecology, the capacity base of quality control, quality control of saving oil updates and technical basis, the company plans to invest about 1 million USD.
One of the priorities of the company will be implementing the widely used in Europe “Q-protect product”. “Q– protect” represents a fuel control system at all stages: extraction, transportation and distribution of fuel.
It is planned that in 2010 the network of filling stations will increase by 15%, and retail sales by 20%.
During 2009 Rompetrol Georgia realized 141,983 tonnes of oil products. Out of the total number, 75,447 tonnes was occupied by RON 92; 26,213 tonnes by RON 95; and 1,884 tonnes by RON 98.
Q. It is well known that premium class fuel products are less harmful to our environment. In your view, is it possible to make consumers accustomed to buying gasoline of higher quality?
A. Undoubtedly, the main indicator for the use of products of premium class is the welfare of people. I think that in Georgia a favorable environment for business development and attracting investments is in the process of being formed. Also Georgia’s integration into the world community has recently been observed. Let us hope that the environmental requirements for fuel will rise year by year.
The unique geographical location of Georgia and its climatic conditions point towards the development of resort business throughout the country’s territory, which also entails increased environmental requirements for fuel and not only that.
Q. Please tell us about yourself, the environment in which you grew up and were educated.
Alexander Albin is 40 years old. Born and raised in Kazakhstan. He is married and has two sons, 18 and 14 years respectively.
Albin started his career in 1991 teaching computer science in the West-Kazakhstan State University. Then he worked at administrative state structures; National Energy Companies (JSC KazahGaz, JSC Batystransgaz, JSC Intergas Central Asia).
He worked in private business for 9 years, where he headed oil and engineering companies. He has extensive experience in construction of tank farms and gas stations, crude oil, supply chain management and sales of petroleum products, participated in the reconstruction of an oil refinery in Atyrau. From 2006 Albin worked in KazMunaiGaz, where he managed refineries in Kazakhstan.
After purchasing the Rompetrol Group, Albin was among the first representatives of KazMunaiGaz to work in Romania. Since November 2009, he has been heading Rompetrol Georgia.
Q. And lastly, how would you define ‘Wealth’?
A. Wealth first and foremost is family and friends, reputation, relationships with people. Wealth is one’s own success and the success of those people closest to you. This is the ability to enjoy life, to give joy to others. And wealth is also one’s health, of course.