Polish petrol giant PKN Orlen, which already operates petrol stations in Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany and Lithuania, has announced plans to expand to Slovakia, where it will operate filling stations under the historic Benzina brand.
It marks a return of the Benzina brand to Slovakia after an absence of more than 30 years. The brand was created in 1953, in the then Czechoslovakia, replacing the original Benzinol logo introduced at service stations in 1949. After 1989, Benzina was privatised and temporarily lost the right to use the brand in the Slovak market.
“We are ready to acquire both large and small service station chains and offer small station operators a franchise-based cooperation on favourable terms,” said Tomasz Wiatrak, vice president of the management board at the Unipetrol Group, owned by PKN Orlen. “Prior to entering the Slovak market, we carried out various analyses and consumer research, which showed that customer expectations and behaviour in Slovakia and the Czech Republic are quite similar. In recent years, Slovak motorists have been showing a strong preference for quality fuels. They are also interested in non-fuel offerings, including food. We have well-proven solutions that worked in our Benzina service station chain in the Czech Republic and we intend to now use them in Slovakia.’
The Benzina brand is owned by the Unipetrol Group, bought by Orlen in 2018. The first station will start operating under the new brand in late March or early April 2019 in Malacky, a town near the Slovak-Czech border. Orlen plans to open up to ten filling stations in Slovakia by the end of 2019.
“We are entering the Slovak fuel market as a seasoned international player. Today, products manufactured by Orlen Group refineries account for 20 per cent of the total wholesale on the Slovak fuel market, which provides us with a solid starting point to also develop retail sales. We have chosen the Benzina brand, which enjoys recognition among two-thirds of Slovak motorists. Having established ourselves many years ago as the leader of the Czech market, with a solid and stable base, we can provide our Slovak customers with top quality services and products that meet their expectations. We want to draw on our knowledge and experience gained on several other markets to become a major player on the Slovak retail market within the next two or three years,” added Daniel Obajtek, president of the PKN Orlen management board.