Petronas Eyes Expansion in China

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Malaysias Petronas Lubricants International recently opened a new research and development center in China and launched several new products for domestic and global markets.

In mid-March, Malaysian state-owned oil company Petronas Lubricants set up the Yuchai Petronas Lube Research and Development Center with China-listed Yuchai Group, a diesel engine manufacturer. Located in the Guangxi provinces Nanning Science and Technology Industrial Park, the centers more than 1,000 square meters has 30 test facilities capable of carrying out 40 kinds of physicochemical and tribological tests.

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Benchmarked against international standards, the Guangxi Nanning Yuchai Petronas Lube R&D Center was conceptualized and built to complement [Yuchai Groups] existing Bei Hai R&D Center to drive tangible results for the companies approach to co-designing engines and engine oil, Petronas said in a March 19 press release. The joint venture between Petronas and Yuchai Group was established in June 2013.

There are a lot of opportunities in China and we aim to further expand and diversify our range of products and lubricant solutions to provide customized, sustainable solutions, Amir Hamzah Azizan, Petronas Lubricants CEO and group managing director, told Lube Report Asia.

According to the companys 2013 financial report, the joint venture helped it achieve an 11-percent sales increase during the second half of the year, compared to the same period of the previous year.

China was Petronas single-largest lubricant market [last year], with over 140 million liters of motor oil sold in 2014, and we look forward to further penetrate the China market this year, said Giuseppe Pedretti, Asia Regional Head.

Globally, we aim to increase our sales to about one billion liters annually. We are focusing our efforts on key markets to capture a broader customer base across Europe (the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy) and Asia (China, Malaysia, India), he added.

Petronas has also been offering incentives to original equipment manufacturers such as Proton Edar Sdn, Cycle & Carriage Bintang, Perodua Sdn, Naza Group and Suzuki.

In 2010 Petronas acquired Shandong St. Maria Lubricating Oil Co. in China to secure more OEM deals there.

In late March, Petronas Lubricants launched a reformulated Petronas Syntium to replace its current flagship brand of Petronas Syntium for passenger cars. By the end of May, the product will be available at Petronas stations and LubeXperts automobile workshops in Malaysia. To further expand its domestic distribution channels, the new product will be sold at independent workshops as well. It will also be soldin China and other overseas markets over the next 20 months.

Petronas Syntium currently holds about 23 percent of domestic market share in the passenger car motor oil segment and We are [aiming for] at least 30 percent market share in three or four years,” said Amir.

Other Petronas lubricants include Petronas Sprinta for motorcycles, Petronas Urania for commercial vehicles and hydraulic, auto transmission and coolant products for the agricultural sector.

European markets accounted for almost 30 percent of total overseas sales, followed by Asia with 27 percent, Latin America with 21 percent, Africa at 17 percent and North America making up 6 percent.