The first ORLEN Group-owned service station has launched in Slovakia under the Benzina brand. Ten more locations with the red seahorse logo will open in the country by the end of this year. Thus, PKN ORLEN has expanded its retail presence into yet another market. With its stations in Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania and Slovakia, the ORLEN Group operates the largest retail network on Central and Eastern Europe’s fuel market.
The station opened in Malacky, a town close to the Czech border. It will offer motorists EFECTA 95 and EFECTA Diesel, as well as premium fuels – VERVA 100 and VERVA Diesel. It is planned that both the newly opened station and the entire Slovak part of the Benzina chain will be on a par with its Czech counterpart in terms of product offering and service standards. In Slovakia, the ORLEN Group will primarily sell its own fuels, while its non-fuel offering will comprise both local products, as well as those from Poland and the Czech Republic.
‘In line with our strategy, we are also consistently expanding the retail segment. Although we are a new entrant, we know a lot about the expectations of Slovak consumers and competition on the Slovak fuel market. We are positive that our experience and capabilities, as well as our attractive and diverse offering, including also non-fuel products and services, coupled with a strong and recognisable brand such as Benzina, will make us successful also in Slovakia,’ said Daniel Obajtek, President of the PKN ORLEN Management Board.
The launch of the Benzina brand on the new market was preceded by a series of analyses and consumer research, which have revealed that customer expectations and behaviour are quite similar in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Non-fuel sales in the latter market are growing strongly – the Benzina chain’s non-fuel sales have increased by 50% while its food & beverage sales have tripled over the last six years.
There are currently about 900 service stations on the Slovak market, nearly half of them managed by the three largest operators. PKN ORLEN is ready to acquire both large and small chains, while offering small station operators a franchise-based cooperation model on favourable terms.
‘Strengthening our presence in the Slovak retail segment is a long-term project for the ORLEN Group. We intend to gradually increase our market share to ultimately become a major player there. Therefore, we plan to open in Slovakia ten more service stations under the Benzina brand by the end of this year,’ said Tomasz Wiatrak, Vice President of the Management Board, in charge of the retail business of the Unipetrol Group.
The Benzina brand was created in 1953, in what was then Czechoslovakia. After 1989, Benzina was privatised. Now, as a member of the ORLEN Group, it is returning to Slovakia as the leader of the Czech market, where it operates 412 service stations and holds a nearly 25% share in fuel sales.
Benzina is part of the ORLEN Group-owned Unipetrol Group, running the largest service station chain in the Czech Republic. Created 61 years ago, it is a traditional yet modern brand, offering high quality fuels and services for customers. In addition to EFECTA fuels, which have cleaning properties, Benzina offers VERVA premium fuels as well as a wide range of food & beverage products at the STOP CAFE outlets. Since October 2018, payments for fuel bought at Benzina stations can be made directly at the pump, using the Benzina Payments mobile application. The chain also has quick charging stations for electric vehicles – in Rousínov at the D1 motorway, in Ostrava-Zábřeh, in Pilsen-Borská Pole, and in Hradec nad Svitavou near the D35 motorway, which is currently under construction.