"Gulf is a brand of fuel and lubricants, with a rich history of innovation and a great reputation in the industry," says Torras, who believes that the brand can grow in a highly concentrated sector, with only three companies having 90% of the markets. He also believes that "the Argentine market today is in line with the international market in terms of costs and prices".
Journalist: What is the opening of this first station in the city?
Eduardo Torrás: It's like a foundation stone. It was another gulf station in Argentina, at Villa María, Córdoba, which was before the agreement concluded with Gulf International. This station adds to our network. But this new one is truly the first and the first with a new global image of the bay. We landed in Argentina, we started and the development of suppliers was a great task to get to that date. For us, this opening is the first milestone of the whole work that we have been working since late December last year.
V.: What are the next steps?
E.T .: After this year, we will take two new stations, one on the outskirts of Rosary and one in the capital of Córdoba.
V.: What kind of projection did you plan?
E.T .: If everything goes well, we hope that we will have 50 stations this year and another 100 next year. Thus, by the end of 2020, there would be 150 service stations.
Q: How much is an investment?
E.T .: At least, when you talk about 150 stations, you need to consider about $ 8 million. This is very variable because it's not all worth the same. But more or less, this is what we will invest, and what the investor invests. That means it's just in the flag.
Q: Is it time to invest in the midst of the current economic situation?
E.T .: Many of us come from the service station industry. You have almost 90% of the market managed by three brands. Then you have space to split and win the market. We believe that regardless of the context we mean in the long run, and we believe that there is room for growth and search. It is clear that we are trying hard to be the majority of players on this market, but you can quickly find yourself and become someone and reach your space. Our goal is to reach 2.5 or 3 market points from here to two years. And this can be achieved because it has so much concentration that it is possible to compete and achieve something. It's on time, what's in retail.
Q: Are you planning to expand to other companies in the sector?
E.T .: We started in Argentina with a gas station service, but we also do not rule out entering any other commercial fuel company, be it asphalt, chemicals, fuel, renewable energy sources. This is the first step and it is essential that we are present in the country and that the brand reaches the final consumer. There are opportunities in Argentina because the volume of business is high.
Q: Will you explore?
E.T .: Not now. Delta Patagonia, the company that brings the Gulf and which manages all this, wants to be a big marketer in the first years.
Q: And how will you compete in such a concentrated market?
E.T .: Our value offer is the first to offer a very interesting brand to the consumer with wide international development. But we also want to be very competitive in price. And to create interesting dynamics both with the service station operator and with the final customer. It will be obvious that the first year and a half, two years will be very focused on the development of the sales point. But even in parallel, and especially after that, we will endeavor to be very dynamic and agile for the manager and the final consumer.
Q: Other brands that tried to disembark and compete did not have any problems …
E.T .: We are all people in the industry who know the company. That we have done something swift, intelligent, and with a proposal of value that has not happened in Argentina for a long time. And besides, with good pricing policy. We are convinced that, depending on the scale to which we are directed, it can be very different from what our current competitors claim today.
Q: Would this pricing policy be closer to the floor than the ceiling?
E.T .: Yes, very similar to the ground. I am explaining that this is our offer and that the whole market works with the resale system, so that the operator can, of course, decide what the price will determine.
Q: How do you see government energy policy?
E.T .: In the long run, it's never good that there is a strong separation between the price and the price of the product. This always creates changes and denaturalizations that are not good for the market. Insofar as we can get as close as possible to what is worth and what is sold, this will cause a lot of competition among players, and this is the best thing that can happen to consumers and the channel. I think that we are a little bit in this and that the development of the upstream stream, which is Vaca Muerta, will also force a little to do this. Because you will be an exporter because the market will take you from the base. All the players in the market, both government and those who can come, as well as producers, marketers. I do not see a big-distortion scenario between costs and the selling price.
Q: Is this relationship OK? Is the sales price in line with the cost?
E.T .: Today, if you look at it with an import parity, the price is fine. It turns out that due to the fluctuation between product costs and exchange rates, sometimes the exchange rate or oil price, or both, contributes to the rise in price. It's like there's no annual constancy that you can track and predict. Looking at the international gas and diesel fuel curve, this year there was a very high fluctuation. They got a lot and they fell too much. And in the middle you also have some cocktail exchange rate. But if you are photographing today, today the local market is very much in line with international costs. Today there would be no problems with regard to the gap between the international market and the local market.
So the price is correct?
E.T .: What is happening is that the word "price of law" is very broad. I prefer to compare it with the international market. Today, the Argentine market is consistent with the international market in terms of costs and prices.