Preem may have had enough

Alan Heath
11-01-2002, 00:00

It is rumoured that the Swedish fuel concern Preem which has around ninety petrol stations in this country may be about to withdraw from Poland. The company has been reporting losses for years and is now clearly on the point of having to make some major decisions. The company says that no drastic action will be taken before the privatisation of the Gdańsk refinery. Since 1996 the Polish government has blocked the construction of a fuel terminal in the port of Gdynia. The treasury argues that if it were built then the value of the Gdańsk refinery would be much less and therefore more difficult to privatise.

Preem admits that even if it gets permission at this late hour, the entry of a powerful investor into the Gdańsk refinery could make the terminal unworthwhile.

In the meantime Preem continues to load fuel elsewhere and supply several western concerns in northern Poland right under the nose of the Gdańsk refinery.

The construction of the terminal is necessary if the company is to develop further here. Preem added hardly any new stations to its portfolio last year. The company claims that it is because of the dominating position of PKN Orlen and the high cost of transporting fuel via the PKP. Therefore a logical exit solution could be to sell its petrol stations to another concern. In any case industry analysts expect consolidation of the market leaving perhaps only four or five of the biggest players here.

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Podpis: Alan Heath

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Puls Inwestora / Preem may have had enough