SOCAR Energy Holdings, a subsidiary of SOCAR Energy Switzerland, announced its entry into the Austrian retail fuel market following its acquisition of petrol station operator A1, as well as lubricant oil trading company Pronto Oil.
Austria is a strategic market for the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), with neighboring Switzerland sharing the same culture. The A1 network is a well-known brand name in many parts of Austria.
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 lubricant oil trader Pronto Oil Mineralölhandels GmbH, which is headquartered in Graz.
SOCAR Energy Austria was established to operate the A1 network and Pronto Oil Mineralölhandels GmbH. SOCAR Energy Austria will continue to employ the staff of A1 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.
“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,” said Edgar Bachmann, CEO of SOCAR Energy Holdings.
“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,” said Gerhard Annawitt, the owner of A1-Tankstellenbetrieb and Pronto Oil.
SOCAR entered the Swiss market five years ago with a new approach that included retail sales of high-quality goods and personalized services. 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 five to 10 dealers expected to join the SOCAR brand next year.
Reinvesting a part of its revenues in Switzerland in order to boost its’ downstream projects, SOCAR Energy Holdings is creating synergies and expanding previous projects. The primary goal is to diversify its portfolio, discover new markets and generate higher revenues.
Several initiatives in this sense have been ongoing for some time, focusing mostly on partnering with 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.
The State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic is involved in exploring oil and gas fields, producing, processing, and transporting oil, gas, and gas condensate, marketing petroleum and petrochemical products in domestic and international markets, and supplying natural gas to industry and the public in Azerbaijan. Three production divisions, two oil refineries and one gas processing plant, an oil tanker fleet, a deep water platform fabrication yard, two trusts, one institution, and 22 subdivisions operate as corporate entities under SOCAR.
Joint ventures (including ventures in Georgia and Turkey), consortia, and operating companies established with SOCAR’s participation, are doing business in different parts of the petroleum industry. SOCAR has representative offices in Georgia, Turkey, Romania, Austria, Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Great Britain, Iran, Germany and Ukraine and trading companies in Switzerland, Singapore, Vietnam, Nigeria, and other countries.