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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Adnoc Distribution to open first petrol stations in Saudi Arabia this week

The move is the company's first foray outside its home market

Adnoc secured a trade licence to operate in Saudi Arabia in March. Courtesy Adnoc
Adnoc secured a trade licence to operate in Saudi Arabia in March. Courtesy Adnoc

Adnoc Distribution, the UAE’s biggest fuel and convenience retailer, is slated to open two stations in Saudi Arabia this week, its first foray outside its home market as it weighs options to expand further internationally.

The two stations are located in the Saudi capital of Riyadh and the city of Hofuf in the eastern province, the company said in a statement on Thursday. Adnoc secured a trade licence to operate in the kingdom, the largest Arab economy, in March.

“The company is currently reviewing a number of potential options to grow its international operations,” Adnoc said.

Adnoc Distribution, which last December floated 10 per cent of its shares in the first initial public offering on the Abu Dhabi stock exchange in six years, dominates the markets in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. The retailer is the first unit of parent Abu Dhabi National Oil Company to go public.

“This is an important moment in our company’s history – our first step into the international arena,” said Saeed Al Rashdi, acting chief executive of Adnoc Distribution. “These initial two stations are significant...they will enable us to interact directly with Saudi customers and, where necessary, tailor our services for this important market as we continue to look at options for growth.”

Adnoc Distribution is actively seeking acquisitions to expand with a $200 million capital expenditure programme, Adnoc deputy chief executive John Carey told The National last month.

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The company has sufficient cash flow to focus on acquisitions both in the UAE and internationally, Mr Carey said at the time. Adnoc Distribution is hunting for acquisitions abroad, both in its fuel retail as well as its lubricants business, according to Mr Carey.

The company's third quarter net profit surged 55 per cent to Dh558m, boosted by revenues and a decline in expenditures. Third-quarter revenue rose about 24 per cent to Dh5.96 billion compared to the same period a year ago.

Adnoc Distribution is not the only UAE fuel retailer expanding into Saudi Arabia,

Emirates National Oil Company is undertaking refurbishment of fuel service stations in the kingdom and is close to completing its planned 15 retail units, chief executive Saif Al Falasi told The National in October. .