Petronas, Hi-Tech Profits Improve, Gaoke’s Decline

Petronas' domestic marketing arm increased revenue in 2016, while Gaoke's declined marginally. Hi-Tech Lubricant's third quarter profit rocketed.

Petronas lubricants business in Malaysia recorded revenue of 535 million ringgit (U.S. $121.6 million) for an 8 percent increase in 2016. Gross margin was up by 20 percent.

Petronas Lubricants Marketing (Malaysia) Sdn, an arm of Malaysias state-owned Petronas, said that the countrys automobile sales declined by double digits during the year, leading to a 12 percent drop in the firms passenger and commercial engine oils sales volume. Malaysias agriculture industry and commercial transportation sector both suffered as well, adversely affecting lubes sales.

The company managed to grow its business … through effective marketing initiatives and stringent cost control, and by focusing more on a higher-value product portfolio as demonstrated in the growth of the semi-synthetic and fully synthetic products, it said in an earnings report last week.

The oil giants subsidiary said its strengths lied in high-value sales channels such as partnerships with original equipment manufacturers and distribution of passenger car motor oils to workshops and spare-part shops - a segment it refers to as high street. The company signed a factory-fill agreement with Honda and claims to be the countrys first non-Japanese lubricant company certified by the automaker.

Sister company Petronas International Marketing (Thailand) Co. recorded a lubricants sales increase of 5.6 percent over its 2015 number, which the firm attributed to lower unit selling prices. For sales in Thailand, that firm implemented two hubs in the southern and northeastern regions of the country for more efficient supply and aggressively marketed branded products through promotions and digital media.

Petronas Lubricants Marketing (Malaysia) Sdn was formed in 2015 to integrate all sales and marketing of Petronas lubricants in Malaysia into a single entity under Petronas Dagangan Berhad, the state-owned oil firms domestic marketing arm. Petronas International Marketing (Thailand) Co. is also owned by PDB, under PDB (Netherlands) B.V. The firms are separate from Petronas Lubricants International, the global lubricants manufacturing and marketing arm of Petronas present in over 100 countries.

Pakistani lube supplier Hi-Tech Lubricants Ltd. reported a 64 percent jump in its third quarter net profit, thanks to a rise in sales and higher other income.

The Lahore-based blender posted a consolidated net profit of approximately Rs 255 million (U.S. $2.4 million) in its quarter March 31, up from Rs 155 million in the same period last year, according to a regulatory filing.

The company reported its other income jumped to Rs 23 million from Rs 7 million a year ago. Total expenses rose 5 percent to Rs 211 million. Consolidated net sales rose 23 percent to approximately Rs 1.9 billion, compared to last years Rs 1.5 billion.

Hi-Tech distributes SK Lubricants Zic brand of finished lubricants, greases and specialty oils to more than 150 sellers in Pakistan.

The company has initiated a foray into fuel retail and service center businesses, and said it was negotiating contracts for the construction of a fuel storage facility, according to the companys latest quarterly progress report. The lube supplier expects its 10 retail service centers to start commercial operations by June.

Hi-Tech raised about Rs 1.8 billion in January 2016 through its initial public stock offering to launch a chain of retail fuel outlets in the domestic market and to install additional filling lines at its Lahore blending plant. It aims to tap potential growth in the countrys industrial sector.

The company is also negotiating with vendors regarding the cost of additional filing lines and other equipment for its blending plant upgrade project.

Chinese lube producer Jiangsu Gaoke Petrochemicals net profit was down marginally in 2016, to 34 million (U.S. $4.9 million). The firm reported operating income of 553 million in 2016, down 4 percent from the year before.

Operating income for Gaokes major product, transformer oils, was roughly 234 million, up marginally, while gross profit for the product category was down negligibly. Other products, including hydraulic oils and combustion engine oils, saw profits decline from 2015.

Gaoke did especially well in North China - a region that includes Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei province, Shanxi province and Inner Mongolia - where income rose 68 percent. Sales were poor in Chinas northwest and northeast regions, resulting in income drops of 57.4 percent and 85.6 percent, respectively.

Breaking down income by quarter, the company reported 121 million in Q1, followed by 141 million, 148 million and 141 million.

In its annual report, Gaoke attributed its performance to the fact that Chinas economy slowed in 2016. Gaoke buys base oils mainly from Sinopec and CNOOC.

The company will continue to invest in research to upgrade its quality of lubes and will shift its focus to motor oils, specialty solvents and metalworking fluids. Gaoke expects to start a new 60,000 metric tons per year blending facility by 2018.

Gaoke supplies to major Chinese transformer manufacturers including Baoding Tianwei Wuzhou Transformer Co. and China CNC. Based in Yixing, Jiangsu province, Gaoke raised 166 million in its January 2016 initial public offering on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

Wang Fangqing and D.S. Nag contributed to this report.