Tumelo Waga Dibakwane
Fuel franchising in South Africa (SA) continues to be resilient as economic indicators remain subdued, says James Noble, business development manager of the fuel industry at Absa Business Banking. According to Noble, the South African fuel retail industry has grown considerably in recent years. It is one of the few sectors to weather the downgrading, rand volatility and negative growth rates recently experienced. Noble was speaking at the Fuel Retailers Association’s (FRA) 2017 Conference at the Nasrec Expo Centre.
According to Noble, fuel retail specifically is a highly specialised sector with operating margins affected by a multitude of factors such as oil prices, labour costs, exchange rates and regulations. “In the current economy, only a small number of industries can claim to be recession proof. The fuel retail sector has proven to be just that, showing healthy profits in times of slow growth cycles,” the business unit manager said. According to Absa, service stations in the country have a combined annual turnover in excess of R200 billion. SA remains the biggest consumer of fuel on the continent, claiming more than 20% of the market share.