Total has no intention of leaving Tanzania as alleged in some social media platforms, the company said yesterday, insisting that the selling of some of its outlets was a normal asset management undertaking.
Total Tanzania’s corporate affairs director Marsha Msuya-Kilewo told The Citizen yesterday that the company was opening new retail outlets in line with its operational strategy, noting that the announced sale of some of its property was directly linked to its 2017 acquisition of Gulf Africa Petroleum Corp (Gapco) from India’s Reliance Industries.
Total completed the acquisition of Gapco’s assets in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda in 2017.
After buying Gapco service stations across Tanzania, Total found itself in a situation whereby it had more than one service station in certain areas.
“We reached a point whereby in some locations, our service stations were competing with each other. The best business decision to make at that point was to sell some of the property but in short, Total is here in Tanzania to stay,” Ms Msuya-Kilewo told The Citizen.
She was explaining on the firm’s Monday, September 1, 2020 advertisement in some newspapers whereby the oil marketer said it was selling some of its property in Tanzania.
In the advertisement, Total Tanzania is calling for suitable bidders to purchase its plots, depots and service stations in various regions in the country.
On the same day (September 1, 2020), Total Tanzania launched a new station, the Total Mchigani Service station which is located at Goba, Ubungo District of Dar es Salaam.
Speaking during the launch, Total Tanzania’s managing director Jean Franchois Schoepp said the company was inviting members of the business community to partner with it through its Dealer Owned Dealer Operated (Dodo) franchise programme.
That way, he said, the company would achieve its target of reaching every Tanzanian with its services.
“Today, we are very happy to be in Partnership with Mr Frank Malle; owner of F.S Mshuwa Co and now a owner of Total Mchigani station. I would also like to take this opportunity to invite business partners who wish to expand their businesses to franchise with Total brand through our Dodo programme and have a chance to own service station and work hand in hand with Total Tanzania to broaden and strengthen your business,” he said.
With the acquisition of Gapco operations about three years ago, Total Tanzania now has about 100 service stations across the country.
The company, he said, has invested about $200 million in Tanzania during the past three years.
Last year, Total Tanzania commissioned its $20 million lubricant factory in Dar es Salaam.
Total has been in Tanzania since 1969 with its operations in the marketing, supply and service of petroleum, lubricants and solar products.
Total is a leading partner in the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline project (EACOP). EACOP is a 1,445km export pipeline that will transport crude oil from Kabaale in western Uganda to the Chongoleani peninsula near the Tanga Port in Tanzania.
According to Ms Msuya-Kilewo, this was not the first time that the company was selling some of its property in an effort to make the business shine.
After acquisition of Gapco, Total Tanzania found itself in such a situation whereby it had to own depots for both Gapco and Total. It also had to own service stations and other property for both Total and Gapco.
“So this is not the first time that we are selling some of our property. Some months back, we sold some depots that used to belong to Gapco in Dar es Salaam,” said Ms Msuya-Kilewo.
She said after making massive investments in the past three years, it was only unfair and not sensible to think of leaving the market.
“All our eyes and energies are now focused on the crude oil pipeline and that is all I know,” she said.
Total is one of the top four largest marketers of oil in Tanzania where a total of over 24 companies scramble for a market of 3.4 billion litres of petroleum products per year, according to figures by the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (Ewura).