The Business Year

Sylvia Escovar

President, Terpel

The 50th anniversary of a company that has been at Colombia’s service across its different regions is something to celebrate and to share. That is why instead of a traditional celebration, we endeavor to thank this country for allowing us to be a part of its everyday life for 50 years of its recent history no matter where or when. Our way of doing it was to invest in the enhancement of educational institutions throughout the country and making people part of the celebration. We combined this celebration with a tipping point in our lubricants market: 2018 was the year where Terpel integrated the Mobil brand lubricant business in Colombia, Perú, and Ecuador. We are always working to offer Colombia different and better processes and products. In the fuel business, one example is natural gas for vehicles (NVG). It is an environmentally friendly transition fuel, and Terpel is the only company that has the most significant national trademark (gazel) and the biggest network of stations distributing this fuel. It not only contributes to the environment but is also an energy resource that should be used in Colombia given its massive reserves throughout the country. As for the lubricants business, we have one of the only lubricants manufactured with biomass, which makes it friendlier to the environment.

José Humberto Arango

President, Biomax

Biomax started in 2004 with a regulatory modification whereby all white flags that do not have a trademark have to affiliate with a wholesaler in order to promote that market. The focus was on identifying unmet needs and offering them a product that was environmentally friendly. Our focus for the future is to work with additives that allow us to have a more environmentally friendly fuel in accordance with the image of the company. Additionally, we are betting on the release of fuels and having infrastructure in port that allows us to import. We had imported fuel in previous years, though both the price and the market will allow us to develop more business. We are a retail company; we have around 850 service stations between affiliates and our own operation, and in the industry market we have 150 clients mostly in the hydrocarbon sector. The rest are companies in agro, construction, and others. Recently we acquired the operation of another wholesale distributor, which is a great way to grow. With the merger and growth to date, we have an 11% share of the market. Today, there are companies leaving the country, as in the case of ExxonMobil. There are 18 wholesale companies in Colombia, and there is an opportunity to make mergers and acquisitions. This is a great strategy to grow.

Jaime Garcí­a Carcamo

General Manager, Jaime Garcí­a Carcamo

In Colombia, particularly in the fuels B2B segment, larger customers have a set of minimum standards that companies ought to comply with to be pre-qualified as a fuel supplier. For us, it was a long process and a huge effort to adapt the company we had acquired to get to that point. It took us about two years to get the company ready to participate in those tenders. One of the requirements was a prior history of supplying similar industries. We started winning some bids of a reasonable size, with the first few years spent building our ability to serve our customers, not only physically with better logistical capacity, but also trying to understand market needs. That is what we do in most of the countries we operate in: we develop a value proposition that is specific to our customers’ needs. We cannot exceed customer expectations unless we truly understand what their needs are. We have been in that process trying to understand what’s needed in which segment. We have reached the point where we are not only competitive in terms of logistics, but also have a better understanding of the market and the needs of the customers. We are now focused on those geographies where we have strong logistics that in turn provide a foundation to reliably supply our market.

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