A LOCAL energy business enterprise, Cranrid Petroleum, is targeting expansion into Matabeleland provinces as it believes the region presents huge opportunity.
On Monday the energy company opened its first operation in Matabeleland South, Zeederburg Garage in Esigodini, and hopes to set up more branches in the region to enhance energy service provision.
The company expects to open its next outlet in Bulawayo as soon as negotiations over a new site is concluded, said chief executive officer, Mr Peter Mauchi.
He said they were excited about entering the Matabeleland market as it had been in their plans for a while with the Covid-19 pandemic stalling plans they had made last year.
The wholly owned indigenous Zimbabwean company was established in February 2010 but had not been able to expand to Matabeleland due to resource constraints, he said.
“We understand it’s (Matabeleland) an important market and it has always been part of our plan to spread our footprint throughout the country but we have not been able to do so as quickly as we would have loved due to the fact we have been using internally generated revenues for our expansion,” said Mr Mauchi.
“We are excited on having opened the outlet in Esigodini and we are finalising negotiations for a site in Bulawayo and once concluded we will quickly start putting up the structures,” he said.
Canrid Petroleum operates 30 outlets in the country having started with one service station in Epworth, Harare in February 2010. The business now employs 90 workers across its business units.
Despite the challenges that have affected the petroleum industry over the years, Mr Mauchi said they have managed to weather the storm riding on prudent interventions by the Government.
He said there were periods when they struggled to secure foreign currency to make direct fuel imports but the Government through the Reserve Bank came through and enabled them to continue operating.
“We have adopted the policy of supporting communities where we operate in and the first thing we do is employ locals with only seconding someone with experience to lead new teams,” he said.
Mr Mauchi said the growth of the business over the years has allowed them to acquire an adequate fleet to ensure seamless distribution of their petroleum products across their service stations.
The company has also opened a new subsidiary, Crangas that will explore distribution of liquid petroleum gas throughout their network of service stations.
“Alternative energy such as gas is becoming more popular and we already have the infrastructure. We started the gas company two months ago and we hope it will boost our operations,” said Mr Mauchi.
He expressed gratitude to the Government for liberalisation of the petroleum industry in the early 2000s, which allowed more players to participate including indigenous players.
“Cranrid seized the opportunities presented by the resulting changes in the economy to embark in the marketing and distribution of petroleum products in Zimbabwe,” he said.
“The company has survived over the years in a country whose fuel sector is characterised by cut-throat competition.”
According to the company’s prospectus, the impetus behind Cranrid is to develop a successful cluster of business units in the petroleum industry through the efficient use of resources.
Mr Mauchi said Cranrid deliberately established itself in agriculture and mining areas in support of government’s initiatives and efforts to develop the economy.
He also said they take pride in ploughing back to the community and as such, the company continues to provide a platform for the underprivileged through partnerships with organisations such as orphanages by offering employment opportunities.
The company has also partnered with various sporting associations such as Tennis Zimbabwe, mainly focusing on junior development programmes. This involves the identification and development of talent from grassroots through provinces.