Puma, which last year replaced BP Africa as Press Corporation LimitedÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s (PCL) partner after buying the formerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 50 percent stakeÃ¢â‚¬â€also said it expects to complete rebranding from BP Malawi to Puma within this first quarter.
Last September, Puma Energy Malawi said rebranding of its 51 major service stations in the country would end last October.
Speaking to journalists in the capital, Lilongwe on Wednesday, Puma Energy country managing director Dr Davies Lanjesi said stronger collaboration among energy players will be the major force behind this yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s envisaged improvement in fuel supply.
“I am probably more optimistic this year than in 2011 because everybody is talking about the fuel scarcity and I believe the solution to it lies in the hands of everyone,” he said.
Lanjesi said Puma Energy, a subsidiary of Trafigura Beheer, is working with the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) as well as the Ministry of Energy, Natural Resources and Environment on how best to end the crisis.
He disclosed that in 2011, his company closed its books 20 percent shy of its initial business target, with further underperformance only averted by the companyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ability to import its own fuel.
Lanjesi maintained that the lasting solution to MalawiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fuel woes lies in diversification of its export base to enable the country generate more foreign exchange to pay for fuel supplies.
On the recent government plan to pay some foreign fuel suppliers in local currency, Lanjesi said he was sure that government weighed both advantages and disadvantages of the move.
“But personally, I would put more emphasis on generating more forex and channelling it to fuel importation,” he said.
On rebranding, which will cost K400 million (about $2.4m), Lanjesi said Puma Energy has deliberately engaged local contractors and transporters to save forex.
In his remarks, Trafigura Limited corporate affairs manager Mark Eadie stressed that as Puma Energy MalawiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s parent company, they are part of the solution to the countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fuel scarcity.