Business News of 2014-05-20

Total Petroleum confident in Ghana’s economy

Total Petroleum Ghana Ltd says it has confidence in the Ghanaian economy in spite of the temporary challenges.

Consequently, it has pledged its commitment to continue making investments in the country for the long haul.

“We are very confident in the Ghana economy; even if it is very difficult for the moment, the fundamentals are good and we are still investing. These past two years, our investments have gone beyond any other and we are hoping that the economy will recover soon,” the Chairman of the Board of Director of Total Petroleum Ghana, Mr Thibault de Langlais, told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS in an interview after the company’s annual general meeting in Accra on May 13.

Mr Langlais said the company, which invested GH¢32 million in the Ghanaian economy last year, up from the GH¢28.4 million in 2012, to upgrade retail outlets and improve quality of service, would continue to improve safety within its operations and expand its outlets from 220 to 250 by the end of the year.

He said the new stations were state-of-the-art and convenient and came with very advanced features and the public had already embraced them.

Total reported gross profit of GH¢101.15 million for 2013, up by 27.5 per cent over the 2012 figure of GH¢79.3 million.

The company also increased its profit after tax (net profit) from GH¢30.53 million in 2012 to GH¢36.55 million in 2013, as total assets of the downstream petroleum company increased from GH¢285.52 million in 2012 to GH¢345.39 million in 2013.

Fluctuations in petroleum prices on the international market, coupled with the cedi’s own weakening status against the dollar and other major currencies, negatively affected Total Ghana, as the company suffered exchange rate losses and other increased cost of inputs which hampered its attempt to cut back on cost.

Dividend

The board recommended a final dividend of GH¢0.09845 per share for 2013, bringing the total dividend to GH¢0.17554 and a total dividend payout of GH¢18.27 million.

Young dealer programme

The company’s young dealer programme offers the possibility to people employed at service stations an opportunity to become dealers and fully-fledged entrepreneurs.

“We try to improve the quality of our dealers. Therefore, we identify the people from the outset, train and finance them to get a station up and running. The programme has been developed for many years and today we have about 80 per cent of people running our stations belonging to the young dealer programme,” Mr Langlais told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS.

“This is a powerful programme with a lot of incentives and we are very proud of it,” he added.

Transporters

Total is also assisting its transporters to obtain new fleets to improve safety and higher performance.

“We arrange the financing with the bank, give them the support to finance new vehicles. This ensures that the fleet is young as part of our safety measures,” the Managing Director of Total Ghana, Mr Guillaume Larroque, said.

Ghanstock Ltd

Total Ghana is also investing US$14 million as equity in a modern depot at Takoradi.

The Ghanstock Ltd facility is connected to the jetty through a pipeline and it is supposed to import products straight to Takoradi. The depot will also facilitate treatment to improve the quality of products for the final consumer.

This is to resuscitate the company’s depot operations at Takoradi, a city which has seen economic activity in the last few years following the discovery of oil and gas there in commercial volumes.