Pertamina Eyes Lubricant Market in Europe, Africa

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State energy firm PT Pertamina carried out the initial shipment of its automotive lubricants to Switzerland and South Africa on Thursday in a move expected to pave the company’s way into the lubricant markets in Europe and Africa.

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The firm shipped two containers or 32,000 liters of its products, including the Fastron Series, Prima XP and Mesran, via the port of Genova in Italy to Lugano, Switzerland, Pertamina’s vice president of lubricants, Supriyanto Dwi Hutomo, said on the sidelines of the ceremony marking the first shipment in Jakarta.

Pertamina had teamed up with Lugano-based Indonaldini Group to start promoting its products in Switzerland, Supriyanto said, adding that the firm would take advantage of the European lubricant market that had shifted to “high-quality products at affordable prices”.

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“We picked Switzerland for its excellence in terms of taxes and customs duties. In addition, the marketing staff there are generally fluent in four languages: English, French, German and Italian, which will ease the promotion of our brands to other European countries,” he told reporters.

Indonaldini’s vice president, Eriberto Naldini, said his company would gear up to encourage Pertamina’s lubricant sales in Switzerland but declined to go into details about the firm’s strategy just yet.

However, he added that customers who drove Italian scooters were likely to be one of the sales targets for Pertamina’s lubricants.

The company also announced on Thursday that it had shipped one container of its lubricant products, which include Fastron Synthetic, Mesran and Meditran SX 15W-40, with a total volume of 12,000 liters to Cape Town, South Africa.

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Supriyanto said Pertamina had teamed up with Cape Town-based National Plasterer group to promote its lubricant products in the capital as well as western parts of South Africa. The country, he said, had a total number of 2.1 million vehicles with potential demand for lubricants reaching 300 to 400 million kiloliters per year.

“We hope that by entering South Africa, we can pave the way toward promoting our products to other African countries, such as Nigeria, Morocco and Egypt,” he said.

In the first half of 2012, Pertamina exported 110,000 kiloliters of lubricants, principally to Japan, China and the United Arab Emirates. Pertamina’s exports in the first half amounted to 62 percent of the firm’s whole-year target of 180,000 kiloliters.

Earlier, Pertamina had announced its plan to spin off its lubricant business unit to a new subsidiary, PT Pertamina Lubricants. The new subsidiary is expected to be officially launched in December this year. (Amahl S. Azwar, The Jakarta Post)

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