Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, Dec 13, 2003
Industry & Economy
Marketing - Rural Marketing
BPCL moves to sell products thru e-choupal network
Thiruvananthapuram , Dec. 12
CONSUMERS in the rural areas of several States may soon have access to a portfolio of petroleum products from Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) through ITC Ltd's e-Choupal network, if a project currently being discussed by the two companies works out.
Under the scheme, BPCL products including LPG, diesel and lubricants are likely to be sold through the e-Choupal network. Confirming that the two companies were working out the details of this venture, Mr S. Radhakrishnan, Director-Marketing, BPCL, told Business Line that the agreement is likely to be finalised "very soon."
The first phase is expected to cover the e-Choupal network in Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
Meanwhile, BPCL is preparing to launch a branded diesel product on the lines of its `Speed' petrol, said Mr Radhakrishnan. Several possible variants of branded diesel that offer customers `value-for-money' are being examined and the company hopes to launch its offering in a "few months," he added.
The company is also working on leveraging its nationwide LPG customer base, he said. The idea is to offer a portfolio of additional services to the company's 17 million LPG customers through its network of Bharat Gas distributors.
The company already retails Nirlep kitchenware, Prestige and Hawkins pressure cookers and emergency lamps under the `Beyond LPG' brand, said Mr Radhakrishnan.
On the retail front, the company is looking at expanding its network of petrol stations still further. Over the next six months, it expects to add some 600 new retail outlets to its existing network of approximately 5,000 outlets, he said.
Similarly, it is also planning to add some 300 new `In and Out' convenience stores over the next several months, he added.
BPCL has also reworked its `One-stop truckers' shop' offering, said Mr Radhakrishnan. These outlets, along the nation's highways, have been re-branded Ghar in keeping with the objective of functioning as a `home away from home' for the truckers.
`Speed 93' launched: BPCL has launched `Speed 93', its new branded petrol, in Thiruvananthapuram. Addressing the launch conference in the city, Mr S. Radhakrishnan, said the product would also be launched in some other districts of Kerala over the next fortnight.
The product, which is currently available in Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune and New Delhi, will cost about Rs 3.27 more than normal petrol, he said. The new petrol is made up of specially refined octane 93 fortified with multifunctional additives and will be available at select `pure for sure' outlets in Kerala.
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