Mr. Pongchai is currently taking care of the Bangchak Petroleum Plc.’s Marketing Business. In the second half of this year, what will we see as a growth of Bangchak’s Marketing Business?
It would be a long term plan. Currently, the number of Bangchak’s standard service stations are not large, we still lack the network. There might be a lot of Bangchak’s service station in Bangkok Metropolitan and Central region, but in the Northern, North-eastern and Southern region, it is quite hard to find our station. So this is one of our first missions to expand our service station networks. Now there are about 460 of Bangchak’s standard service stations, still less than our main competitors. One of our first priority strategies is to fix this problem and grow our networks to cover every parts of the country. We have been working on this since last year, and we target to have about 400 more standard service stations, almost doubling the existing number, within the next 5 years. More to the service station expansion, we do not aim to sell only oil products, but also other elements or known as the Non-Oil business too.
What is Bangchak’s Non-Oil business comprised of?
For example, one of our good business is the coffee shop. We have our own coffee shop brand called Inthanin Coffee, and right now we also have Inthanin Garden, which is a premium brand with a highlight of using 100% organic Arabica coffee beans. Our key story is that we purchase coffee beans from the hill tribe who grow coffee in the forest. Coffee likes the shady, humid area, so the people who grow coffee also need to preserve the forest too, because coffee need to live with the shades of big trees, and if they want to have a quality coffee beans, they have to look after the forest as well. Also, another condition from us is that the coffee grown in the forest need to be chemical-free.
How does Bangchak target in terms of image and the number of Inthanin and Inthanin Garden coffee shops from now on?
We try to open up both kinds of coffee shops for about 100 shops per year, which would be Inthanin Coffee around 70 shops and Inthanin Coffee around 30 shops. Currently there are about 380 – 390 shops, of which are Inthanin Garden around 30 shops and the rest are normal Inthanin Coffee. We are test running Inthanin Garden and get quite a good feedback. There are a few conditions for Inthanin Garden, such as to be in an appropriate location for the target customers. The target to open 100 new shops a year should be in the service stations around 60-70 shops, the rest 30 shops would be in the department stores and community areas. We will see this business growing.
Move on to the electric cars, or EV cars which is quite a new hot topic at the moment. There are also discussions on the charging station for these kinds of cars. In the near future, will we see Bangchak’s service stations providing charging stations for EV cars too?
This will be another topic that Bangchak interested in. We had just signed an MOU with an EV cars manufacturer in Japan, called FOMM. They are interested in manufacturing EV cars in Thailand, and looked for battery changing and charging stations for their cars. So we signed and MOU with FOMM that we will support the project. When they open their EV cars manufacturing, FOMM’s customers can change and charge their cars’ batteries at Bangchak service stations. What follow next is we would need to find the appropriate areas, with a big enough space for our service stations, we are studying for the charging station as well. However, we might not see this business coming very soon. In the next 4-5 years, the numbers of EV cars in Thailand might not be large, so we are just testing the business right now.
Lastly, do you have anything to say to Bangchak’s service station customers?
Yes, recently, we have just introduced new oil products, called the Green S Revolution family. We had introduced a new E20 S last year, and a new Hi Diesel S around the end of last year. So this year we developed every kind of our oil products, we call it the “S” family or “S Series”. It is a quality improvement of all our oil products, both for cleaning the related spark plugs, and for better lubricating. As such, the S Series oil products will help our customers to be able to efficiently and fully utilize the car’s energy, get more power, and achieve a better mileage too.