The FINANCIAL — SOCAR Energy Holdings (SOCAR’s Swiss subsidiary) is announcing its entry into the Austrian retail fuel market by taking over petrol station operator A1, as well as mineral oil trading company Pronto Oil.
Reinvesting a part of its revenues in Switzerland in order to boost its’ downstream projects, SOCAR Energy Holdings are creating synergies and expanding previous projects.
The primary goal is to diversify the portfolio, discover new markets and generate higher revenues, according to SOCAR.
Several initiatives in this sense have been ongoing for some time, focusing mostly on partnering mid-sized family companies in Switzerland, as well as in neighboring countries. In some cases, these development initiatives took the form of dealer expansions, supply relationships, joint-ventures, card acceptance or other partnership deals. The acquisition of a well-known family business network A1 and Pronto Oil was the logical next step of this expansion strategy.
Playing a leading role in the petrol station market in the state of Styria, A1’s network comprises a total of 82 petrol stations with accompanying shops and has a presence across most of Austria. The company employs around 150 staff. SOCAR is also taking over mineral oil trader Pronto Oil Mineralölhandels GmbH, which is headquartered in Graz.
SOCAR Energy Austria was established to operate A1 network and Pronto Oil Mineralölhandels GmbH. SOCAR Energy Austria will continue to employ the members of staff of A1 network and Pronto Oil Mineralölhandels GmbH. Given the strong brand recognition of A1 in the Austrian market, SOCAR plans to continue operating the petrol stations under the A1 brand.
Edgar Bachmann, CEO of SOCAR Energy Holdings, is pleased with the move: “The acquisition of A1 will allow SOCAR to expand its business activities into Austria and continue to build on its position as a leading energy company.”
Gerhard Annawitt, former owner of A1-Tankstellenbetrieb and Pronto Oil, explains: “SOCAR is a perfect match both for A1 and Pronto Oil. By selling my company, I am passing a quality-conscious and innovative company into safe hands, where I know it will continue to be run in the same spirit.”
It should be noted that SOCAR entered the Swiss oil market five years ago with a new approach that included retail sales of high quality goods and personalised services meeting the needs of local customers. Today, SOCAR has built a reputation and enjoys brand recognition among more than 63% of consumers in Switzerland. SOCAR has expanded its dealer activities in Switzerland by establishing partnerships with 15 dealers with 5-10 dealers expected to join the SOCAR brand next year.
Austria is a strategic market for SOCAR, with neighbouring Switzerland sharing the same culture. The A1 network is known as a highly appreciated brand name in many parts of Austria.